During his career, Blake amassed 24 singles finals appearances. In 2005, Blake was presented with the Comeback Player of the Year award for his remarkable return to the tour. Later, in 2008, Blake was awarded another honor where he was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. Blake saw Davis Cup action in 2001 and became the third African-American player for the US (after Arthur Ashe and MaliVai Washington).
James Blake is an American former professional tennis player known for his powerful game and tenacity. During his career, Blake amassed 24 singles finals appearances (winning 10 of them), and achieved a career high No. 4 ATP ranking. However, his journey to success was filled with obstacles. At age 13, he was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, and for five years as a teenager he was forced to wear a full-length back brace for 18 hours a day, though not while playing tennis.
Despite his diagnosis, James Blake followed the footsteps of his brother, Tom Blake, and attended Harvard from 1997-1999. During his time at Harvard, he reached the 1999 NCAA Singles Finals, and achieved the ITA No.1 ranking. James forgeod his collegiate eligibility to turn professional in 1999.
At the age of 21, Blake saw his first Davis Cup action in 2001 against India and became the third person of African-American heritage to play for the Davis Cup for the United States (after Arthur Ashe and MaliVai Washington). From 2002 - 2003, he amassed his first ATP Tour Title, the 2003 Hopman Cup title, and three Runner up finishes. However, in 2004, while practicing with Robby Ginepri for the Masters event in Rome, he broke his neck when he slipped on the clay and collided with the net post. Later that year, he lost his father to cancer, and was diagnosed with Shingles.
Despite his setbacks, James was able to make a full recovery. In 2005, he reached the US Open quarterfinals. The following year, he reached the 2006 Tennis Master Cup finals and 2006 US Open quarterfinals. His career highlights also included a semifinals appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (upsetting world No. 1 Roger Federer en route), and the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open. He was also an essential piece to the United States 2007 Davis Cup title, going 2-0 in the championship tie vs Russia.
James officially retired from the ATP tour in 2013. To date, James stays involved in the tennis community as an ESPN analyst, and recently served as the 2018 Miami Open tournament director.