December 18, 2009 - Tampa, FL - Greetings everyone! Hope the holiday season is going well for you. James has been working hard down in Florida with new coach Kelly Jones and his trainer Rory Cordial. Believe it or not, the upcoming tennis season is just a few weeks away.
He leaves for the east coast of Australia in a little over a week to get his 2010 campaign underway in Brisbane. Here's the early season schedule:
Jan 4 Brisbane
Jan 18 Australian Open
Feb 8 Rotterdam
Feb 15 Memphis
Feb 22 Delray Beach
Mar 8 Indian Wells
Mar 22 Miami
More updates soon, including the winner of our 2010 Tennis Package Giveaway!
December 7, 2009 - New York City - Looks like it was a great evening last night! James started the day off on GMA by donating some Fila coats for their Warm Hearts, Warm Coats drive. The Back Office Associates Serving For A Cure event got underway later in the day, and you can see a few of the images from it above. You can also see the streaming video on the Facebook page. Here's another sampling of images from the event...
December 1, 2009 - Tonight's the big night in NYC! And even if you can't make it to the exhibition (there are tickets left btw), you can watch it here.
November 19, 2009 - Let's welcome in the holidays with a fantastic giveaway. James's sponsors have pitched in with some delectable goodies that can be all yours! Simply click here or on the image above for your chance to win Dunlop tennis balls for the entire year of 2010 (52 cans), a brand new Dunlop Aerogel 4D racquet autographed by James, a J-Block shirt and James's book (also autographed). The quid pro quo goes this way- by signing up to win you do agree that James's sponsors and yours truly (the webmaster) can come knocking on your email inbox on occasion with news and special offers (don't worry we'll be cool about it). The drawing will be on December 20, so enter (once only) before then.
And for those of you in the NYC metro area, don't forget James's charity event December 1st! See below.
Update: Exciting news to share today: the After Party musical guest lined up for the Dec. 1 NYC exhibition is Wyclef Jean!
In other news, there's a Facebook page up for the event. And every tennis exhibition needs a Host Chef, and this one is doing it in style with legendary Executive Chef John Mooney. Read about him here.
Big news for JB fans: his annual fundraiser to benefit the Thomas Blake, Sr., Memorial Research Fund is officially set for December 1st in NYC at Pier 94. Read all about the BackOffice Associates Serving For A Cure event, which will combine tennis, music and fashion here. To see ticket prices and this year's invitation (and posters from past year's events), head here.
To buy tickets call 1-866-840-8822
or CLICK HERE.
November 12, 2009- Paris, France- James finished off the 2009 tennis season with a well played loss to Andy Murray 3-6, 7-6, 6-7. The two took the court around midnight and played until almost 2am. Needless to say the stands weren't exactly packed, but that didn't stop them from playing some entertaining tennis. No breaks of serve in the third set, but it was Murray who pulled out one extra clutch shot in the breaker that made the difference (a crosscourt backhand passing shot to be precise).
So it's relax, train and prep time for next year. James will kick off the year in Brisbane.
November 10, 2009 - Paris, France - James got the final event of the year underway early by beating France's Fabrice Santoro in Paris on Sunday. It marked Santoro's final singles match on the ATP Tour. The win moved James on to a second round encounter with the fourth seed Andy Murray. That match will take place tomorrow (Wednesday).
October 15, 2009 - For the second week in a row, James played a tough three-set match against Rafa Nadal, but unfortunately he came out on the wrong end again. The score was extremely similar to last week: 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to watch it, but based on quite a few emails I received, James was playing some great tennis, so perhaps his new coach Kelly Jones has him firing on all cylinders. Great to hear.
Just two more tournaments left this season: Basel and Paris!
October 13, 2009 - James will be experiencing the Colbert Bump today. His segment with the popular Comedy Central host aired last night at 11:30 (and will be on again throughout the day today). You can see it online right now by heading here.
And, as some of you may recall, I had a chance to follow James while he did the Colbert show as part of his publicity tour for Fila back in September. Here is the Behind the Scenes report I filed. (Click here for a higher quality MP4 format).
Oh yeah, James is playing tennis now over in Asia! He beat Ivo Karlovic in Shanghai on Monday, and gets a return date with Rafa Nadal tomorrow in the second round.
October 8, 2009 - Beijing
Rough day in Beijing: James came up short against Nadal- the scores were 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3. Read a match report here.
Also, as some of you might have heard on the match telecast today, James is now working with a new coach, Kelly Jones, who has previously worked with Mardy Fish. James and Brian Barker made the mutual decision to take a break, so James could find new ways to improve. James is looking forward to his time working with Kelly at the end of this season and during the coming offseason.
James and partner Andy Ram also lost their second round match today to Benneteau and Chardy 5-7 6-4 10-4. So it's sightseeing time in Beijing, or perhaps off to Shanghai for the penultimate Masters Series event.
October 6, 2009 - Beijing
James notched a first round win in Beijing today, beating Florian Mayer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in an hour and a half. That makes James a perfect 3-0 against the German. After splitting the first two sets and being broken three times, James saved all five break points against in the third and capitalized on one of his two for the win. Next up is Rafael Nadal.
September 25, 2009
Hey there everyone, hope all is well. For you hard core readers, I would imagine you are awaiting my report from last Friday's Fila Media Tour. Unfortunately that's going to have to wait until the Colbert Report airs (hopefully next week). James did appear on the Fallon show and you can see his game of Poker Tennis here. And, trust me, the wait will be worth it once you see what happened on the Colbert Report. I'll let everyone know the air date as soon as I have it.
In the meantime, we'll pass along a tale of James' poker prowess. Read away.
Speaking of fashion, head over to the new Thomas Reynolds Apparel page!
September 16, 2009 - NYC
Some on-the-court news to report first up today- James will play Beijing, Shanghai, Basel and Paris to close out the season this year. So you'll have to wait until October 5th to see JB in action on the court again.
More immediate (off the court) news to report: James will be taping a segment on the Colbert Report this Friday to be played at a later date. He'll also be appearing on the Jimmy Fallon show Friday night. And for those of you in the NYC Metro area, you can catch James at Dicks Sporting Goods at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, NY where he'll do an autograph signing. That will be around 7pm on Friday evening. I'll be along for the ride that whole day, so we'll get a report and pictures up on the day's activities next week!
September 6, 2009 - U.S. Open
A disappointing result compounded by yet another injury concern as James sprained his ankle (beware- image contains graphic footage of James's foot) during the match. So a difficult summer has come to a close, and now we'll see what James's fall schedule looks like. You'll recall last year he played TMS Madrid, Basel and TMs Paris to close out the season. I should have that schedule for everyone shortly.
James isn't done in New York City quite yet though. He will be appearing on The Fallon Show and The Colbert Report in a couple weeks' time- and we'll have a full behind-the-scenes report from those shows when they happen!
September 4, 2009 - U.S. Open
It didn't go five sets, but that didn't minimize the drama of yesterday's match vs. Olivier Rochus. For Blake fans, things were looking awfully dicey in the third set tiebreak, as James faced a 6-3 deficit. But he pulled it together and reeled off five straight points to take the tiebreak 8-6.
The complete scoreline was 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3, but one gets the feeling that third set tiebreak was the match decider. Read a complete match recap here, which includes some of James's post match comments.
Next up for the Cardiac Kid is Tommy Robredo. The two have played six times previously. That match will be on Saturday.
Check out a pre-tournament interview James did for Yahoo! Sports here.
And here are some pictures from his Fila retail party last Thursday.
August 31 - New York City
UPDATE: James wll play his second round match Thursday.
A positive start to the US Open today for JB. He took control of his first round match vs. Ramirez Hidalgo right out of the gate. After holding serve authoritatively, he broke the Spaniard and cruised to take the first set 6-1.
Things were a little more dicey towards the latter half of the second set, when James's first serve percentage slipped slightly and he was broken once. Nevertheless, James came up with the goods to deliver the second set 6-4.
In the third Ramirez Hidalgo's game picked up and it was tight until James capitalized on his second opportunity to serve for the match, winning 7-5. (See post match interview here and all the stats here).
The match was a good one for James to get back into the groove- he hit a ton of groundstrokes and I'd say he served very well. He did seem content to mostly hang back against his opponent; we'll see if he chooses to come into the net to close out a few more points in his next match.
Speaking of which, he doesn't get a rematch vs. Igor Kunitsyn as one might have expected. The Russian lost today to the wily veteran Olivier Rochus, so its USA vs. Belgium on Wednesday.
August 31 - New York City
UPDATE: James plays today (Monday) around 3:30-4:30pm (my best estimate). Check out today's full schedule here.
Let's start out with some U.S. Open news first- the draw is out! James is in the top quadrant and has Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in the first round. No word yet on when he'll be playing, but as soon as I get that info I'll pass it along.
James and Venus Williams were on the Today Show this morning promo-ing the Open, answering a few questions, and hitting some Ping Pong balls. Check out the video here.
James will be at Arthur Ashe Kids Day tomorrow.
August 26, 2009 - New York City
James will be busy in and around New York City promoting the line. This Thursday is the offical Launch Party- we'll have some exclusive photos shortly thereafter.
August 19, 2009 - Cincinnati, OH
Despite the loss, it was great to see James back on court yesterday afternoon in Cincinnati. The final score against Kunitsyn was 6-7, 7-6, 4-6, but James took some encouragement from his fitness level:
As much as I didn't feel great out there today, I know physically I'm gonna be all right for the Open because I did a ton of work in the pool, on the bike, and just in general on my legs for the last four weeks when I couldn't do much else. I have a good feeling from that. But it's tough to take positive from playing only one match and losing that match. Just gotta look forward to the Open and hope it gets better.
So another break until the Open starts on August 31. James currently rests at 24 in the world, so his seeding will probably be somewhere around there. If he is going to make any appearances in the NYC Metro area, I'll be sure to let everyone know!
August 17, 2009 - Cincinnati, OH
James is in the draw and plans to play in Cincinnati this week. He's not on the order of play for today, so presumably he'll get things going tomorrow against Kunitsyn. Nice to have him back on the court!
August 5, 2009 - Tampa, FL
UPDATE: Check out the 'making of' video of James with his new line of Fila clothing and shoes here!
We'll start off with some positive news- today Fila announced the imminent arrival of James' signature collection of tennis apparel and footwear, named 'Thomas Reynolds,' after James's late father. Look out for it during the U.S. Open. Get all the details here.
Unfortunately it's also my duty to report that James has to pull out of Montreal due to his foot injury. He visited the doc today and is hopeful to play Cincinnati. We'll keep our fingers crossed.
July 31, 2009 - Tampa, FL
Hey there everyone- it's been a while! I was away visiting family for some time and fortunately James' playing schedule was in a lull, so no reports.
There is news to report now, but it's not the good kind- James has had to withdraw from Washington due to an injured foot he suffered while in Croatia. He's hoping to make it back in time for Montreal, but nothing's for certain at the moment.
So he's resting and recuperating in Tampa. Hopefully we'll have some positive recovery news to report in the coming week or so!
July 12, 2009 - Porec, Croatia
James's 2009 Spring/Summer European Swing came to a close today as the US Davis Cup team lost to Croatia. A tough weekend for the Americans, who managed only one meaningful win (the doubles point on Saturday).
James started off the tie by winning the first two sets against Karlovic, but it was pretty much downhill after that. The big man played solid tennis over the final three sets, edging James in the 5th 7-5. Mardy took a similarly tough loss, going down to Cilic 8-6 in the 5th. After the Bryans win, James had to notch a W over Cilic, but it wasn't to be; he went down in four earlier today.
So next up for JB is DC- that's right, he's returning for the first time since 2006. That tournament takes place August 2.
July 9, 2009 - Porec, Croatia
As many of you probably heard, Andy Roddick pulled out of this week's Davis Cup tie with Croatia (hard to blame him). Mardy Fish will pick up his load in singles and try to see Team USA through to the semifinals.
Action gets underway tomorrow as James squares off against Ivo Karlovic. The Croatian team has selected clay as the surface (surprise, surprise), but in their most recent encounter James actually took out Karlovic on the red stuff (Madrid).
Coverage gets underway on the Tennis Channel tomorrow at 10am EST.
July 2, 2009 - Wimbledon
It's certainly been a while since James has played in as meaningful a doubles match as today's. Davis Cup against France perhaps? In any case, this one went the proverbial distance and then some. In the end, it was Nestor and Zimonjic (reigning Wimbledon doubles champs) who prevailed in the 5th set, 10-8 (video highlights).
So this was a surprising Wimbledon for a couple reasons; certainly the first round singles loss stung, but this doubles run made for a memorable fortnight.
Next up? James remains in Europe for the Davis Cup tie vs. Croatia.
July 1, 2009 - Wimbledon
James and Mardy continued their Wimbledon doubles run today with a 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-6(5) win over Aspelin and Hanley. This is their first trip to a Grand Slam semi (in singles or doubles).
They get Nestor and Zimonjic, the 2 seeds in the semis. The Bryans are on the other side of the draw.
In case you missed the news, James will be sticking around Europe after Wimbledon to join the U.S. Davis Cup team as they battle Croatia starting July 10.
June 29, 2009 - Wimbledon
UPDATE: James and Mardy get Aspelin/Hanley tomorrow on court 3 at noon (7am EST). Also, James has been named to the Davis Cup team that will face Croatia.
For those that hadn't noticed yet, James and Mardy Fish have been playing doubles this fortnight at Wimbledon. And playing very well I might add!
Today the duo dispatched the 15th seeded team of Damm and Lindstedt. This follows wins over Clement and Gicquel and Dlouhy and Paes (the 3 seeds). What does this all mean? A trip to the quarterfinals! They get the winner of Mirnyi/Ram vs. Aspelin/Hanley.
June 22, 2009 - Wimbledon
James's 2009 Grand Slam struggles continued today at The Championships. He went out to Italy's Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Unfortunately that's now nine consecutive sets he's lost in Grand Slam play.
The ending to this one was particularly rough on the stomach- James held a set point at 6-5 and was then up 5-0 in the tiebreak. Speaking of stomachs, according to the ESPN announcers James called for the trainers at least once during the match for issues with his. We'll see if he has anything to say about that in the post match interview.
June 21, 2009 - Wimbledon
The draw was reset and James finds himself in the bottom half with Seppi as his first round opponent and Haas and Cilic as potential opponents down the road. We'll find out how things are going pretty quickly since he pays the first match of the day on Court 3 at noon (7am EST). Follow the match live on ESPN2.
June 14, 2009 - London
James battled Andy Murray for the Queens Club title in London today. And while JB didn't walk away with the gargantuan trophy (he got the more svelte Brancusi-inspired hardware), he was playing some confident tennis, hanging with the third ranked player in the world shot for shot. Final score was 7-5, 6-4 Murray.
So, a week off for James before he embarks on his 9th Wimbledon campaign, where he looks to make it past the third round for the first time.
June 12, 2009 - London
Quarterfinals of the Aegon Championships today and JB took out Mikhail Youzhny 7-6, 6-3, their first encounter since the Davis Cup finals in 2007. See video highlights here. Next up for James is Andy Roddick, whom he beat in the '06 semis at this tournament.
June 11, 2009 - London
James improved to 5-1 lifetime against Sam Querrey today in London and for the fifth time the encounter lasted three sets. In the first and third sets James faced nary a break point, and that translated to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win. We'll see if we can find out James' assessment of the match and how he's playing on the green in short order.
Tomorrow James gets the winner between Youzhny and Simon.
June 9, 2009- London
Before I had a chance to alert anyone, James got in his second round match today in London (I initially thought he would play Wednesday).
James knocked off Croatian and erstwhile nemesis Ivan Ljubicic 6-1, 7-6(4). James got off to the strong start quite obviously, and then played him dead even in the second (evenly splitting the 82 points played) before prevailing in the tiebreak. Next up is the winner of Querrey and Anderson (a qualifier from Spain).
James also has doubles duty today with Mr. Stacey Gardner. They are stepping onto the court as we speak against Butorac and Lipsky.
June 8, 2009
James is busy training in England for the upcoming grass season, which he kicks off in London at the Queens Club tournament. As the 6th seed he gets a first round bye and will probably play Wednesday.
As for he rest of his summer, it looks like this so far (possible additions to come):
May 27, 2009 - Roland Garros
If he hasn't already done so, James would probably be best crossing off 'Matador' from his potential post-tennis list of professions. For the second year in a row, James went down on the court known as the 'Bullring' at Roland Garros.
The bull inflicting the damage in this case was one Leonardo Mayer- not exactly a household name, but when it comes to claycourt tennis, that's not exactly a prerequisite. James lost 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the waning hours of the day in windy and damp conditions. In case you hadn't noticed, those descriptors don't usually translate well for James's aggressive game. To see the post-mortem from JB head here.
So, not much more to say other than it's time to prepare for the grasscourt season. This year James is playing Queens prior to Wimbledon. In the next few days we'll post James's U.S. Open Series schedule.
May 22, 2009 - Roland Garros
James has arrived in Paris and is ready to do battle on the red clay. The French Open draw was issued today and it's Leonardo Mayer of Argentina as a first round opponent for our favorite 14th seed. Leonardo was the 2nd seed in the qualifying draw and won three matches on his way to a berth. Not sure yet when James will hit the court first.
May 14, 2009 - Madrid, Spain
Breaks at the beginning of both sets today spelled doom for James as he tried to get past Mr. Federer into the quarters in Madrid.
In the first set, James failed to hold serve on a second occasion resulting in a 6-2 score. The one break at the outset of the second was all Roger needed for a 6-4, fairly routine, hour-long win.
So it is off to Paris for the second Grand Slam event of the year. There's certainly more reason for optimism this year based on the results of the past couple weeks. We'll have to see if the Estoril final and third round this week bump James up in the rankings at all. He's currently at 16.
May 13, 2009 - Madrid, Spain
More fun on the red clay today- James pulled out a third set tiebreak vs. Ivo Karlovic in Madrid, earning him a spot in the third round.
James got the full Karlovic treatment; 26 aces from the big dude, but James got a break in the second, and faced only one break point all day. He then took care of business in the third set tiebreak winning 7-4. All this means he gets Mr. Federer in the third round. But I will remind you the past two times James has drawn Roger he has advanced (Olympics and walkover win in Paris).
May 12, 2009 - Madrid, Spain
Hmmm, well normally this is my downtime from website duties here at JamesBlakeTennis.com. During European claycourt season, James typically loses round one or round two, so I get to enjoy the spring weather, play tennis, tend to the yard, etc. But this year James has been doing more than his fair share of winning, so here I am on the computer reporting another victory. I jest. I'm certainly happy to share the good news with everyone.
Today James took out Victor Hanescu 2 and 4 in Madrid in the first round. He has the big man next, Ivo Karlovic. That match is up third on court 2 tomorrow.
May 10, 2009 - Estoril, Portugal
James polished off Nikolay Davydenko for the 7th straight time earlier today, but didn't have enough to bring home the bacon against Albert Montanes in the final a few hours later.
James's semifinal match against the Russian carried over to today due to darkness (after multiple rain delays yesterday), and a 6-3 third set score in favor of JB meant it was on to the final vs. the Spaniard. James won the first set 7-5, and had a couple match points in the second at 5-4, but lost that set in a tiebreak. The third set started out poorly, and only got worse as our man went down at love in that set.
Nevertheless, let's take away what's quite obvious, and that's the fact that James played his best tennis this week, and he has some positive momentum going in his favor. He gets to carry that momentum into Spain, where he plays Hanescu in the first round.
May 9, 2009 - Estoril, Portugal
James made it three for three yesterday in Portugal, taking out Florent Serra in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. He gets Nikolay Davydenko in the semis today. See highlights of James's match here.
Hopefully I'll be back later today with news of a positive result!
May 7, 2009 - Estoril, Portugal
Well, well, that makes two wins in a row in James' new favorite European country- Portugal! James took out Marc Gicquel today (in straight sets no less) 7-6, 6-2.
Perhaps the remark Jim Courier once made about Americans playing on clay applies? 'If your opponent's last name ends in a vowel, you're in for a long day.' (or something to that effect). So far James has played Gil and Gicquel, perhaps that might help explain his success. Or maybe we're just shortchanging the man, and he's outplaying these guys?
I'll vote for the latter explanation considering JB faced only one break point all day today, and won a majority of the points by a nice margin 54% to 46%.
The vowel-less run will end tomorrow, when he faces Florent Serra in the quarters. James gets in a little more claycourt practice for that match this afternoon when he and Robert Kendrick face Cermak and Mertinak in dubs.
May 6, 2009 - Estoril, Portugal
I would have to imagine today's win over Frederico Gil in Portugal had to feel awfully nice for James. And, as proof, I submit to you the picture above. It's not many times that you see the 4th seed get so fired up about a round one win. But James came through today after dropping the first set 7-5 and earned himself his first claycourt singles win of the year.
I followed the internet scoring today and this one was nip and tuck through the first two sets. Late breaks were the difference on each occasion. James got an early break in the third though and never looked back. Final scores: 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Congrats to him.
He plays a doubles match today with Kendrick (they won their first round match yesterday), and then it's on to round two tomorrow vs. Gicquel.
May 5, 2009 - Estoril, Portugal
James is celebrating this Cinqo de Mayo by playing the Estoril tournament for the first time ever. He starts today in doubles, partnering with Robert Kendrick. Have a look at the draw here.
Over on the singles side- he has Frederico Gil tomorrow in the first round.
April 27, 2009 - Roma
After a quarterfinal appeaance in Rome in 2008, one might have hoped James could get his European claycourt season off to a positive start today...but it was not to be. He fell to Victor Crivoi today 5-7, 3-6 in a little over an hour.
James will remain in Rome, where he and Mardy Fish will play the final match on Stadio Pietrangeli tomorrow evening against Aspelin and Moodie.
April 26, 2009 - Rome
James is in Rome ready to get his European claycourt season underway tomorrow (Monday). He faces a qualifier, Victor Crivoi, in the first round. I have no idea who Victor is, but if he came through qualifying, we're going to go ahead and call him a clay court specialist.
James is probably sleeping now, but when he wakes, he will be armed with some of the best claycourt suggestions he could hope to receive courtesy you fans. Okay, maybe they won't be particularly helpful, but perhaps they will give him a chuckle when he wakes up. Without further ado...
the second place runner up:
'Yell VAMOS! after key points' - Gary Pasqualicchio
the first place runner up:
'James can marry me and move with me to Valencia, where he will have plenty of opportunities to master the red surface.' - Alejandra
and the winner of the autographed shirt is:
'He should pick his butt before every point - I think it is the secret to Rafa's success'. - Noah Perez
April 16, 2009 - Tampa, FL
Hey there everyone- taxes are out of the way (until I get the annual 'Verification of Head of Household status' letter), so it's back to JamesBlakeTennis.com duties.
Today I wanted to share with you some behind the scenes stories from the Dunlop photoshoot a few weeks back in Miami, just prior to the tournament. So, without further ado, let's turn it over to a page that affords us a little more space for images and text.
A little fun before James departs for Rome and the claycourt season- I have an autographed JB shirt that I'd love to send your way. The person who comes up with the most creative suggestion(s) to help JB on the red clay this year gets it! Email me at email@example.com.
April 9, 2009 - Houston, TX
Hello there everyone- sorry for the missed updates this week. It's Spring Break time in Florida with my two youngsters, so free time has been hard to come by.
JB is still in Houston playing, but unfortunately it's just in the doubles draw. He bowed out to Canas in round one back on Tuesday night 6-4, 6-4. I'm just judging from the stats, but it doesn't appear there was much to write home about after this one. James was broken four times in the match and seemingly struggled on serve throughout.
In the positive news dept., he and Mardy Fish are still alive in dubs and will play the Bryans tomorrow in the semis. That's the featured match on Stadium court.
Many of you have been writing in asking about James's summer schedule and it's still being finalized, so hold your horses on that one. As soon as I hear, I'll pass along the info.
March 31, 2009 - Key Biscayne, FL
James' run at the Sony Ericsson Open was a short lived one this year. He lost to Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-6, 3-6 late Sunday night in the third round. JB's serving percentage was up over previous matches (60% for the match), but the break point opportunities continue to be elusive; James had five in the match (of which he converted one), but none in the third set. So it's off to Houston next week for the start of the claycourt season.
In more positive news, some of you may have noticed James is sporting a new patch on his Fila jerseys. He has a partnership with Back Office Associates, a data migration and data governance outfit based in Massachusetts. You probably need to be familiar with IT to understand this, but basically they prepare a company's data for a more smooth transition to the SAP ERP system. And for anyone who's ever done an SAP transition, lord knows you need all the help you can get to make it go smoothly.
James received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award from the ATP last week. His efforts to set me up with that beautiful brunette in Atlanta in December earned him the award. I jest. James was rewarded for his Foundation work.
What else? James is happy to report that his NCAA brackets are looking mighty fine this year, and he'll be in the money in John Isner's pool. I got crushed when Pitt went down to Nova, but what a game that was.
March 28, 2009 - Key Biscayne, FL
A 6-4, 6-4 win for JB yesterday to get his Sony Ericsson campaign underway. He took out Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who had beaten James in their only previous encounter.
James rang up 8 aces in the match, was broken once (2nd set), and won 81% of his second serve points, which is no small feat. He moves on to face the 21st seed, Tomas Berdych, in the third round. That match should be taking place tomorrow.
March 17, 2009 - Indian Wells, CA
Not much positive news to report from JamesBlakeville after yesterday's match with Gonzalez. How to sum it up? Let's see, have you ever played NBA Jam? Do you remember when you could catch fire and do the 360/front flip/two-handed reverse dunks? Yeah, well, that was Fernando Gonzalez yesterday. And unfortunately James's 360/front flip/ two-handed reverse dunk button wasn't working. Stupid controller.
So it's sayonara to the desert and onto the tropical heat of Florida for some serious sweating on the practice court before Key Biscayne starts next week.
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
March 15, 2009 - Indian Wells, CA
James had another tight encounter with Jarkko Nieminen last night in the desert, and, just as in the previous five occasions they've played, James came out the victor.
He saved five break points in the third set, and capitalized on the one he needed, to win 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3. Don't have many details on the match (it started after my beloved Orange lost in the Big East tourney final, so I went straight to bed), other than the fact James had one match point in the second set (presumably in the tiebreak?). Perhaps James will reveal a few details in the blog he's writing for the tournament.
Next up? You James Blake historians will appreciate this: we have a tasty encounter with one Fernando Gonzalez. That'll be on Monday.
March 6, 2009 - Birmingham, AL
James will get the USA-Switzerland tie underway today when he takes on Stan Wawrinka at 1pm CST. The entire tie will be broadcast on Tennis Channel. I'm fortunate enough to live only a couple hours from Birmingham, so I'll be offering up a full report this weekend. In the meantime, follow the action at the www.daviscup.com website.
February 26, 2009 - Tampa
The USTA came out with the official announcement for the Davis Cup team- read it here. James has been in Tampa prepping for the tie.
February 19, 2009 - Memphis
Did anyone else follow JB's match vs. Hewitt last night via computer scoring? Were you screaming at your monitor on those break points in the third set in the final game? No? Just me? I need to get a life?
There's something about following internet scoring in tennis that has me shouting out like I'm at a theater watching a bad horror movie. Well, unfortunately the screaming didn't help as James lost to Hewitt 6-3, 1-6, 4-6.
James' work is not yet done in Memphis; he teams with Bobby Reynolds to face Fish and Knowles today in doubles.
February 18, 2009 - Memphis
Not only did James play doubles yesterday with Bobby Reynolds and win, but he's still on the docket for action this evening against Lleyton Hewitt. Match is scheduled to start at 6:30pm Memphis time.
February 16, 2009 - Memphis
After gritting out his semifinal match against Mardy Fish on Saturday (and losing 3 and 2), James had to withdraw from his doubles match that evening. He's still hoping to play in Memphis, where he is scheduled to face Lleyton Hewitt in the first round on Wednesday.
February 14, 2009 - San Jose, CA
James defeated Sam Querrey yesterday 7-6 (9), 6-3 to set up a showdown with friend and doubles partner Mardy Fish. The two do battle at 1pm PST and will then have to follow the other singles semifinal for their dubs match.
February 13, 2009 - San Jose, CA
Another straight set win for James yesterday- this one over Frenchman Florent Serra. Score was 6-4, 6-3 and we'll turn to Darren Sabreda of the San Jose Mercury News to provide a match recap.
That sets up an intriguing showdown for today: Blake vs. Querrey. Let's hope Mr. Sam doesn't go for another 34 aces (including 10 in a row) like he did in Indy back in '07.
February 12, 2009 - San Jose, CA
A straight set win last night for James to start off the SAP Open in San Jose. He beat Mr. Spadea 3 and 4 in under an hour. The San Francisco Chronicle writer did their homework before filing their match report last night. Read it here.
February 10, 2009 - San Jose, CA
After playing doubles earlier in the day with Mardy Fish (and winning), James had to pull out of last night's exhibition with Pete Sampras due to a strained back. He hopes to be ready to go tomorrow night against Spadea.
February 9, 2009 - San Jose, CA
James is in California to get the U.S. indoor season underway next week at the SAP Open. He plays Pete Sampras in a charity exhibition tonight. His first round singles match against Vince Spadea will take place Wednesday night.
January 26, 2009 - Melbourne
Haven't had a chance to watch the Tsonga match yet, (and I'm not sure I want to), but suffice it to say it didn't turn out as well as most of us reading this would have hoped.
James lost 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 to the Frenchman in just under 2 1/2 hours (match stats here). In looking at the stats the thing that jumps out to me is the lack of even one break opportunity in the first couple sets for James (JB talks of Tsonga's serving prowess and of not returning as well as he would have liked in his post match interview).
For a match recap, have a look at the Aussie Open website report.
So James is going to lose a little ground in the rankings dept., considering he made it one round further last year at the Aussie, meaning he didn't defend all the points he needed to.
Next up on the playing schedule is San Jose, and perhaps James will be heading to the Super Bowl, since it's in Tampa? I'll ask and let you guys know.
Have a look at the new 2009 Photo Gallery. Some insanely sweet images from the past 10 days in Australia (including my favorite above).
January 24, 2009 - Melbourne
All the clubs in JB's bag were delivering during last night's match against Andreev. Set point in the first set was the ultimate indicator; he pulled out the 60 degree wedge and inside-out forehand sliced a dropper crosscourt. Normally James hits that shot and immediately shakes his head and covers his face after he's missed it. But even that shot went for a winner last night. First set 6-3 in 30 quick minutes.
James kept up the pace in the second set, constantly looking to attack the net at every opportunity. He really treats Andreev's game like it's batting practice for him- there's no other way to put it. That set took all of 29 minutes: 6-2.
James lost his first set of the tournament in the third, as Andreev converted the only break opportunity. But it was back to business in the fourth, with a 6-1 score for James.
Next up is the Frenchman Tsonga. He got by Dudi Sela in four sets, and is looking to recapture the glory he experienced here last year when he reached the final.
January 22, 2009 - Melbourne
Can't ESPN pull a few strings with Tennis Australia and get one of James' matches on at an hour I'm not in R.E.M.? It was another 3:30am affair last night in Melbourne, so that meant TiVo (actually Comcast DVR) for the showdown we've all been waiting for since the inception of James' career- mano a mano with Sebastien De Chaunac. Yes, that Sebastien De Chaunac. The one who if you know who is, then you need to get out more.
First off, the conditions were less than ideal for this throwdown, unless you enjoy playing tennis when the apocalypse looks imminent. There were sand storms and wind gusts and funky colors in the sky that one might have surmised could have contributed to the 253rd player upsetting the 10th ranked player in tennis. But, alas, they did not. This was a pretty routine 3, 2 and 3 affair that got bumped on the tube (for the most part) by Venus' three set loss.
Things are going to get a little more interesting next round, when James faces Igor Andreev. Let's hope the CERN particle accelerator hasn't screwed with the balance of order recently, because James is a perfect 5-0 against Igor.
January 20, 2009 - Melbourne
It was the dreaded 3:30am EST start time for James' first round match in Melbourne today, so unless you're an narcoleptic/insomniac/vampire residing in America you might have missed this one. I TiVo'd it and just got done watching; happy to report it was a solid start to the year's first Grand Slam for JB.
First and foremost, this was a fairly typical match for James. So if you were concerned the switch in apparel to Fila was going to disturb the balance in Blakeville, you can set that concern aside. He dictated most points from the ground, got in trouble a few times with some shorter second serves, and, in general, went for his shots per his standard m.o.
James was in control of this affair through the first two sets and two games of the third. At that point things started getting a little chippy between the American and Canadian, and Dancevic stepped up his game as well. James had to fight back from two consecutive 0-40 games to keep pace in the third, and then broke fairly easily at 5-5. He then served it out to win the 1 hour 56 minute match. Match stats here. Post-match interview here.
Next up is Frenchman Sebastien De Chaunac, who came through qualies and then got a five set win over Steve Darcis yesterday.
January 19, 2009 - Melbourne
James gets his Australian Open underway Tuesday in Melbourne, facing Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic. James won their only other meeting back in '07 in Stockholm.
The forecast calls for triple digits in Melbourne Tuesday, but perhaps by the time the two take the court on Margaret Court arena late Tuesday afternoon/early evening it might not be quite so toasty. This will be James' first official match of 2009 after a couple exhibitions, so let's hope for a good start!
January 14, 2009 - Melbourne
FILA AND JAMES BLAKE TO COLLABORATE ON MEN'S APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR COLLECTION
collaboration of its kind in the sport of tennis - Blake to serve as
inspiration for collection
Sparks, MD- January 14, 2009 - Fila announced today that it has entered into a collaboration arrangement with ATP World Tour star James Blake to develop a collection of men's apparel and footwear. The collection will incorporate the heritage of the Fila brand with a contemporary twist inspired by Blake's signature style. He will collaborate with Fila's design team to create a co-branded collection. The yet to be named collection will target today's active male and will be the basis for the development of a long-term licensing business for Blake.
The collection will include tennis, golf, fitness and lifestyle apparel, performance and lifestyle footwear and accessories for men. Fila and James Blake will also explore other product categories as opportunities arise in the market. The collection will debut with a limited collection of tennis and fitness apparel that will be unveiled just before the 2009 US Open in New York. The collection will officially launch for the Spring Summer 2010 season.
James will wear Fila branded or co-branded tennis apparel and footwear exclusively on court and he will be featured in Fila's worldwide marketing efforts. He is the first top ten American male to sign with Fila. James will debut in Fila's Collezione Apparel Collection and the Fila Alfa shoe at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with an athlete of James Blake's caliber," said Gene Yoon, Chairman of Fila. "Fila has been associated with champions in tennis and other sports for over 35 years. We are certain that through our collaboration with James, we will create a range of products that combines the rich style of our historic brand and James' active and sophisticated lifestyle."
"I have always had an affinity for the Fila brand," said James Blake. "Ever since Borg graced the courts of Wimbledon in Fila, I have always been attracted to the Italian style, grace and sophistication of the Fila brand. My collaboration with Fila is much more than an endorsement arrangement. It will serve as the foundation of a business venture that I that will continue to build for years to come."
Fila has a long and distinguished history in the world of tennis. The company has endorsement agreements with several ATP Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour athletes, is a major sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open, Tennis Tournament at Indian Wells, and the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and is the footwear licensee with The Championships at Wimbledon.
About Fila: Established in Italy in 1911, Fila is a leading manufacturer of sport and leisure footwear and apparel distributed worldwide. The internationally respected company, having gained world class recognition in tennis apparel, has developed brand recognition by marketing products with a high design and style content that are endorsed by professional artists and athletes from around the world.
January 8, 2009 - Hopman Cup
UPDATE: James' schedule for the first half of the year is in. Head here to see it.
A positive finish to this year's Hopman Cup to report. James won his second consecutive match in Perth today, beating old nemesis Lleyton Hewitt 2 and 2. James was in control of this match throughout, gaining breaks early in both sets.
James then teamed with partner Meghann Shaugnessy to win in doubles over Hewitt and Dellacqua in a third set breaker.
Next up? James heads striaght to Melbourne for some serious training in preparation for the Australian Open.
January 7, 2009 - Hopman Cup
James notched his first win of the year today in Perth, beating Nicolas Kiefer in a two and a half hour three set encounter 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
Unfortunately, the US team will not be advancing past pool play, as the German team closed out JB and Shaughnessy in a third set tiebreak in the mixed doubles. The Americans do have one more pool play match, facing the host country (Hewitt and Dellacqua). That match takes place tomorrow.
January 6, 2009 - Hopman Cup
Happy New Year to everyone! Plenty to catch up on here after a little vaction for the jamesblaketennis.com webmaster (me) and then a bad bout with the flu (unfortunately again me).
First, James is currently in Perth, western Australia, playing the Hopman Cup for the first time in four years. He's paired with Meghann Shaunessy (substituting for an injured Serena Williams). The duo had a rough start of it, losing to the Slovak Republic three matches to none. James lost to Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/1). Up next is the German team, comprised of Kiefer and Lisicki.
Prior to the Hopman Cup, James played an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, where he lost in the opening 'round' to Andy Murray two and two. See some brief post match quotations here.
December 18, 2008
James recently updated his Yardbarker blog. Check it out here.
December 15, 2008
New Dunlop Racquet Charity Auction
Hello everyone! I realize it's been a while sans update, but you know my policy about manufacturing 'news'- I just don't do it unless I'm in a sardonic mood, and that's tough to muster during the holidays.
Well, we have plenty of real news to pass along today so let's get to it. On Saturday James was here in the ATL for an exhibition against Sam Querrey. Sam won the Infinite Energy Slam this year by taking out James 7-6, 6-3. That result sort of sullied the post exhibition plans for a big night out celebrating Bo Hodge's 27th birthday. Well, not really. A good time was had by all both during the event and afterwards.
James hopped on a chartered flight to Baton Rouge early Sunday to participate in the benefit for victims of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. James and Pete Sampras battled it out for three sets with Pete winning 6-4 in the third.
The other big news from the weekend is that James put in play his new Dunlop racquet, the Aerogel 4D 300 Tour. I had James sign one of these bad boys on Saturday and YOU CAN HAVE IT (in time for Xmas no less)! Let's raise some money for James' charity to help the battle against cancer. Send your bid to firstname.lastname@example.org now! We'll start at $250. The winning bid and check can be made out straight to the charity. Get in your bid by December 22nd!
Also, just for the holidays, Tennis Warehouse has put together a James Blake FanPack special. Check it out here.
December 2, 2008
Hello there everyone, hope all is well with you this December day. A few items to pass along. First is a short recap of the annual benefit for the Harlem Junior Tennis Program held last week. To read a blog-style recap and see a few more images from the event head here.
James' early season '09 schedule is hot off the presses! Have a look:
November 27, 2008 Macao Tennis Showdown
Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans today! Just a quick blurb and image from James' second Asian exhibition last week, and then tomorrow or this weekend I'll post some pictures from the Harlem Junior Tennis benefit held earlier this week.
James was in Macao competeing against Roger Federer once again. And the Swiss star took this exhibition as well, winning 6-4, 6-4. Read more here.
November 19, 2008 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
James took part in the Showdown of Champions yesterday in Malaysia. He went down to Federer in a one set match but then teamed with McEnroe to beat Fed and Borg. For a full recap of the matches head here.
James' next exhibition will be the annual Harlem Junior Tennis benefit. It's called the 'Serving Up The Holidays' fundraiser, and it's at the renovated Harlem Armory on Tuesday, November 25.
James displays his acting range: 'Charming' to 'Stunned!' in a second
In Saturday's semifinal Tsonga will play fellow Shanghai hopeful James Blake. The stakes couldn't be higher. Blake will qualify if he reaches the final. A win would be good enough to take Tsonga to Shanghai provided Nalbandian loses his semifinal to Davydenko.
Seventh-placed Juan Martin del Potro will qualify unless Nalbandian defeats Blake in the final. Therefore del Potro can qualify as soon as Nalbandian or Blake lose before Sunday.
Eighth-placed Gilles Simon can no longer qualify because whomever wins the Tsonga-Blake semifinal will surpass the Frenchman in eighth position in the ATP 2008 Race.
Wien - Der US-Amerikaner James Blake hat am Montag über die Tennis-Vereinigung ATP seine Absage für die nächstwöchige 23. Bank-Austria-TennisTrophy ausrichten lassen. Der 28-jährige Weltranglisten-Zehnte kommt offiziell wegen Ermüdungserscheinungen nicht nach Wien. Blake hat seit seinem Drittrunden-Out Ende August bei den US Open in New York kein Match mehr bestritten, seither auch für das Davis-Cup-Halbfinale in Madrid gegen Spanien abgesagt.
September 22, 2008 - Tampa
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and world-ranked tennis player James Blake have joined forces to bring new resources to bear on the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. With the support of his family, James established the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund, in memory of his father. The Blake Research Fund invests seed money in leading-edge science in order to speed up the most promising work and shorten the time it takes to turn laboratory discoveries into better treatments for patients.
To date, James and his family
have raised $500,000, and their goal is to reach the $1 million mark by the
end of 2008. Please join the Blake family in supporting Memorial Sloan-Kettering
and the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund. One hundred percent of every
dollar donated to the Fund goes directly to cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
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