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View Full Version : Doesn't it seem that Blake is not often "clutch"?


Coria
04-20-2008, 07:15 PM
He seems to have gotten a bit better in the last couple of years, with a couple of good wins in Davis Cup. But, he loses the overwhelming majority of five set matches, he often loses in tournament semis or finals--even when he's favored, and he seems to lose most of the time when the match is tight at the end.

Today, he lost yet another final in a match he should have won. He won the second set 6-1!! Then, in the important third set, his level drops again.

I like Blake but he's just never been that good under most (not all) pressure situations.

(FEDERER)vs(NADAL)
04-20-2008, 07:17 PM
he has certainly improved i think, never has he so consistantly made final rounds of big tournaments

Mansewerz
04-20-2008, 07:19 PM
Yea, he was up 3-0 in the third.

flyer
04-20-2008, 07:20 PM
Hes gotten better but he still is humbled by the big players....so hes still not clutch in my mind even though he def has the game to be, he still plays for second place though esspecially against Rog

edmondsm
04-20-2008, 07:24 PM
No, I already read all about this in DUUUUHHHH magazine.:razz:

But seriously, it is no secret that Blake folds like a leaf under pressure. He was 10 and 0 in 5 setters up until recently. It must be taken into account however that he plays with a style that make him more prone to errors in "the clutch".

spikyblackhair
04-20-2008, 07:24 PM
Yeah, he does seem to have one of the weaker mental games among the top players. It seems like he feeds heavily off of the crowd, so he really needs that J-block to pull through for him and give him some energy.

Djokovicfan4life
04-20-2008, 07:33 PM
He seems to get too eager sometimes and go for too many winners. I understand that that's his game, but sometimes he has to pick and choose when to go for the kill.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-20-2008, 07:36 PM
He has gotten a lot of more consistent this year, despite those loses to Nishikori and Granollers in those finals he should've won. And James is aware of the mistakes and has said he is working hard to make his game better. If you look at a lot of his matches he has been working on adding more variety to his game, and even coming to the net a little. He might be favored and doesn't pull through some of the times, but that's tennis for you. I have faith that he will have a solid 2008 season and make it to TMC Shanghai.

tintin
04-21-2008, 03:40 AM
too bad Calleri got injured in that match;he should have whooped Blake!
2 finals lost to 2 nobodies;says it all.
Houston,since it's the only "clay" court tournament Roddick,Blake and Fish always competes in,might be the only "clay" tournament they ever win after all.
Houston always has 2nd tier winners except for Grosjean,Sampras and Haas who have all made the Quarters or better in Paris.:lol:

naffi
04-21-2008, 07:01 AM
I was just thinking that. When I saw he was up against an unknown in the final, I was almost certain he'd blow it. It's like he can't deal with the pressure of being a heavy favorite. He's much better off in a tight situation, I think.

http://www.******************.blogspot.com

He seems to have gotten a bit better in the last couple of years, with a couple of good wins in Davis Cup. But, he loses the overwhelming majority of five set matches, he often loses in tournament semis or finals--even when he's favored, and he seems to lose most of the time when the match is tight at the end.

Today, he lost yet another final in a match he should have won. He won the second set 6-1!! Then, in the important third set, his level drops again.

I like Blake but he's just never been that good under most (not all) pressure situations.

flyer
04-21-2008, 07:05 AM
He has gotten a lot of more consistent this year, despite those loses to Nishikori and Granollers in those finals he should've won. And James is aware of the mistakes and has said he is working hard to make his game better. If you look at a lot of his matches he has been working on adding more variety to his game, and even coming to the net a little. He might be favored and doesn't pull through some of the times, but that's tennis for you. I have faith that he will have a solid 2008 season and make it to TMC Shanghai.

With all do respect, against who has he gotten more consistent with? Because I don't really see much of a change, everytime he has a chance to beat a top player in a close match he folds

JRstriker12
04-21-2008, 07:10 AM
Blake actually came back from 0-3 down in the second set in the semis - but it's sad to see that he couldn't close the deal in the final.

Saying that Blake isn't clutch is like saying water is wet. Don't know what happens, but he just tends to fold at the worst times.

lordmanji
04-21-2008, 07:43 AM
i was also very disappointed that he lost. he shouldve beaten granollers. but he got very tentative at the end. a couple of backhands at 5-6 in the 3rd were very tentative.

i think blake will always be like this. psychologically, it seems as once blake starts to choke in a match for whatever reason, he can't recover from it. and this was a final of a 2nd tier event, not even masters. how will he ever close out a masters event or slam quarter?

ill write off his davis cup win where he's only won two singles matches that weren't already dead recently as him not really putting much stock in davis cup.

federerfanatic
04-21-2008, 07:49 AM
With all do respect, against who has he gotten more consistent with? Because I don't really see much of a change, everytime he has a chance to beat a top player in a close match he folds

Usually his matches against the top players are not that close. He is just outplayed. His match vs Federer in Australia wasnt that close, in fact hardly any match he plays vs Federer is he close or have much of a chance. His match vs Nadal in Miami wasnt either. Only his match vs Nadal in the Pacific Life could be that termed that way of his matches so far this year, but Nadal is so mentally tough he is hard to beat in a very close match anyway.

flyer
04-21-2008, 07:59 AM
Usually his matches against the top players are not that close. He is just outplayed. His match vs Federer in Australia wasnt that close, in fact hardly any match he plays vs Federer is he close or have much of a chance. His match vs Nadal in Miami wasnt either. Only his match vs Nadal in the Pacific Life could be that termed that way of his matches so far this year, but Nadal is so mentally tough he is hard to beat in a very close match anyway.

against federer they are never close because blake is beaten before he even goes out there, the last two Nadal matches were close going into the third set; one Nadal won the big points and stepped up in the clutch(Blake didn't) and the other Nadal just pounded Blake in the third set so yeah i mean my point exactly

anointedone
04-21-2008, 08:45 AM
against federer they are never close because blake is beaten before he even goes out there, the last two Nadal matches were close going into the third set; one Nadal won the big points and stepped up in the clutch(Blake didn't) and the other Nadal just pounded Blake in the third set so yeah i mean my point exactly

Blake's matches with Federer are not that close since he isnt a good enough player and there is nothing about the matchup that is difficult for Federer. Blake does not have a better forehand, better backhand, better serve, better return, he does not frusterate Federer with his scrambling or his heavy spins, he hits the ball where Federer likes it, there is no reason he can do well in that matchup unless Federer is horribly off form. His mental state is irrelevant. Blake vs Nadal? Well I guess Nadal just improved on hard courts so Blake is not able to win anymore.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-21-2008, 08:50 AM
With all do respect, against who has he gotten more consistent with? Because I don't really see much of a change, everytime he has a chance to beat a top player in a close match he folds

In terms of his results, through out the 2nd half of his career he has played well in spots, but this year he has lost early only in a few tournaments. In a few of his matches down under he played really well even though some of the matches were against an almost retired Grosjean and an inexperienced Cillic. His matches against Federer and Nadal were close, but credit to those players who play to their rankings.

Blake to me is still learning and has room for improvement, he has said it himself that he has always been a late bloomer. I can only take the man's word and belief about his development as a tennis player.

He also isn't the only player out that has had chances to beat top players and then folds. James Blake isn't the most strategically blessed player out there, but he has done well with what he has. Some of his loses were unexpected this year and they were winnable matches against Nishikori and Marcel. Mentally he might not be as strong, but he puts in the effort regardless

futuretoptenner
04-21-2008, 09:14 AM
He has definitely got better. He's much more of an all round player . His has the potential to be the American Number 1 but I personally think most of the time he is let down mentally and at the top of the mens game , that's all it comes down.

anointedone
04-21-2008, 09:17 AM
I like Blake but I personally think he should be applauded for what he is able to do. He made the top 10 at a later age and has done a good job staying there for the most part a couple years now, he was never some phenom who was believed to have the potential to be a really great player. He does have some nice attributes to his game, very big forehand, nice agressive play, some good athletic ability, but it is still easy to see why he cant win a big event or cant beat Federer. If anything he should be complimented for overachieving and maxing out his abilities.

flyer
04-21-2008, 10:34 AM
In terms of his results, through out the 2nd half of his career he has played well in spots, but this year he has lost early only in a few tournaments. In a few of his matches down under he played really well even though some of the matches were against an almost retired Grosjean and an inexperienced Cillic. His matches against Federer and Nadal were close, but credit to those players who play to their rankings.

Blake to me is still learning and has room for improvement, he has said it himself that he has always been a late bloomer. I can only take the man's word and belief about his development as a tennis player.

He also isn't the only player out that has had chances to beat top players and then folds. James Blake isn't the most strategically blessed player out there, but he has done well with what he has. Some of his loses were unexpected this year and they were winnable matches against Nishikori and Marcel. Mentally he might not be as strong, but he puts in the effort regardless


When you say late bloomer do you mean physically or mentally, because the mental part is the only thing holding him back, for someone who went to Harvard and comparred to anybody he seems to have no knowledge how to construct points and keep himself in it mentally like you would think he should esspecially on the big points against top players, he just hits the ball as hard as he can with no purpose

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-21-2008, 10:45 AM
When you say late bloomer do you mean physically or mentally, because the mental part is the only thing holding him back, for someone who went to Harvard and comparred to anybody he seems to have no knowledge how to construct points and keep himself in it mentally like you would think he should esspecially on the big points against top players, he just hits the ball as hard as he can with no purpose

Physically he is there, but could be a little better in terms of stamina, but it's the mental part that needs some tuning. Bashing away on every point isn’t going to get the job done, especially on the bigger points. But that's the way he plays at the same time, more aggressive than cautious.

Honestly, not everyone that goes/went to Harvard or an Ivy League is the picture of intelligence. His game plans and point construction patterns lacks a lot of thought most of the time, but I think he has pulled back some of late. He also seems to be adding more to his game; coming to the net with greater effect, and slicing his backhand more instead of hitting through it like a maniac. Time will tell that's if time hasn't already run out for him.

Max G.
04-21-2008, 11:31 AM
It's a pretty tough line to tread for Blake. He's an aggressive player - his gameplan is to go for his shots. It's got him into the top 10. If he holds back on his shots, it feels like he's playing tentatively, if he goes for his shots, then there's the inevitable misses at big moments. It's not an easy line to tread, and I don't think it's as easy as remembering 'oh! I have to play more cautiously!'

JRstriker12
04-21-2008, 12:07 PM
Physically he is there, but could be a little better in terms of stamina, but it's the mental part that needs some tuning. Bashing away on every point isnít going to get the job done, especially on the bigger points. But that's the way he plays at the same time, more aggressive than cautious.

Honestly, not everyone that goes/went to Harvard or an Ivy League is the picture of intelligence. His game plans and point construction patterns lacks a lot of thought most of the time, but I think he has pulled back some of late. He also seems to be adding more to his game; coming to the net with greater effect, and slicing his backhand more instead of hitting through it like a maniac. Time will tell that's if time hasn't already run out for him.

I don't think his problem is lack of tennis intelligence or overall intelligence for that matter. He's simply too dedicated to his all-out attacking style of play and refuses to change. Over and over again, he says he believes his style of play give him the best chance of winning. He doesn't seem to want to take it down a notch at all. Being in the top 10, it's hard to argue that point.

But the down side to Blake's style of play is there's no "plan b" and when his attacking shot making style isn't clicking, he's liable to lose out.

As for his attitude towards tennis - I wonder if his more mellow "I'm lucky to be here" attitude makes him more open to these types of loses. Face it, most champions don't have the most balanced, healthy view of winning. Winning is the only thing. Sometime I wonder if James' life experinces just made him to mellow.

TheTruth
04-21-2008, 03:37 PM
When you say late bloomer do you mean physically or mentally, because the mental part is the only thing holding him back, for someone who went to Harvard and comparred to anybody he seems to have no knowledge how to construct points and keep himself in it mentally like you would think he should esspecially on the big points against top players, he just hits the ball as hard as he can with no purpose

Totally agree. He should also fire his coach who isn't helping him in the least. It makes no sense to have an ironclad contract with anyone. A coach's job should be dependent on your success. I fault Blake for not letting him go and Barker for not stepping down. When you know your player has plateaued with you, the honorable thing to do would be to say, "I've done as much as I can, but in your last remaining years maybe you need a new voice." Blake needs a new coach and a sports psychologist!

anointedone
04-21-2008, 04:00 PM
When you say late bloomer do you mean physically or mentally, because the mental part is the only thing holding him back, for someone who went to Harvard and comparred to anybody he seems to have no knowledge how to construct points and keep himself in it mentally like you would think he should esspecially on the big points against top players, he just hits the ball as hard as he can with no purpose

No that is not so much his mental game as the limitations of his game. He has no choice but to continue playing that high risk low percentage tennis, which consists of going for full out power drives and winners at almost all times, vs the top players since that is the only game he does well enough to have any chance. He has no real skills other then his power off alot of his shots, and pretty good speed which still isnt really suplemented which ableness to use it that well defensively. He doesnt have the variety of shots or diverse skills to rally or use alot of different dimensions.

I cant believe anyone would see him play tennis and think he should do well vs Federer or some of the other top players.

TheTruth
04-21-2008, 04:03 PM
I don't think his problem is lack of tennis intelligence or overall intelligence for that matter. He's simply too dedicated to his all-out attacking style of play and refuses to change. Over and over again, he says he believes his style of play give him the best chance of winning. He doesn't seem to want to take it down a notch at all. Being in the top 10, it's hard to argue that point.

But the down side to Blake's style of play is there's no "plan b" and when his attacking shot making style isn't clicking, he's liable to lose out.

As for his attitude towards tennis - I wonder if his more mellow "I'm lucky to be here" attitude makes him more open to these types of loses. Face it, most champions don't have the most balanced, healthy view of winning. Winning is the only thing. Sometime I wonder if James' life experinces just made him to mellow.

So true! All points are not equal. At times Blake should give more consideration when to go for it, and when to keep the ball in play!

anointedone
04-21-2008, 04:13 PM
So true! All points are not equal. At times Blake should give more consideration when to go for it, and when to keep the ball in play!

His game isnt to just keep the ball in play and he cant outrally the top players. His only chance vs them is to continue going for all his shots. Top 10 is excellent for his abilities. People should just realize that, and those who dont want something that isnt there. If he were not American I doubt this topic would even come up. People hope for more then they should because he is American, same way they do with Roddick.

Max G.
04-21-2008, 10:38 PM
So true! All points are not equal. At times Blake should give more consideration when to go for it, and when to keep the ball in play!

The problem is that he knows that 'keeping the ball in play' won't win him too many points in the long run. His strokes are all aggressive, he can't really grind. So he's got pretty tough decisions - every ball that he DOESN'T go for it he's digging himself into a deeper hole in the point, because the longer the rally goes the more likely he is to get behind in it.

Blake has to tread a very, very fine line - he has to go for a winner or a kill shot AS SOON AS HE CAN, but no sooner. I can't blame him for getting that wrong sometimes. He's not like Federer or Nadal, who can wait and play defense if they don't like their offensive position - Blake doesn't have the loopy or spinny consistent defensive shots to play.

superman1
04-21-2008, 10:55 PM
Well, he goes into zones and patches. When he's in the zone, he is clutch. If he gets into a breakpoint, he can usually save it.

Then all of a sudden he'll go through this patch where he'll just make unforced errors left and right for no particular reason. It's like he misses one ball, then that miss gets into his head and he misses the next 3 balls.

gooberwho
04-21-2008, 11:06 PM
not often clutch? how about never? the guy has no Plan B and starts flailing away when Plan A doesn't work. that's two horrible finals losses this year, first to Nishikori and now to Granollers-Pujol(?!)...

Don't get me wrong.. Blake is a great guy, but really doesn't have that killer instinct.. it's too bad.

TheTruth
04-22-2008, 02:52 PM
His game isnt to just keep the ball in play and he cant outrally the top players. His only chance vs them is to continue going for all his shots. Top 10 is excellent for his abilities. People should just realize that, and those who dont want something that isnt there. If he were not American I doubt this topic would even come up. People hope for more then they should because he is American, same way they do with Roddick.

I disagree. I think Blake does have skills. Not because I want him to, but because he does. I'm not a Blake fan, I happen to think he's an underacheiver for what he could do. Although it's his game to go all out, in 2007 he curtailed his impulses a bit more and that's how he made the push to get in the top ten. If you look at his earlier matches he went for it all the time and his ranking was a lot lower. Where you're wrong is in making a generalization about what Americans want. My favorite players are my favorite players based on their characteristics, not their nationality. Who picks where they are born?

TheTruth
04-22-2008, 02:55 PM
The problem is that he knows that 'keeping the ball in play' won't win him too many points in the long run. His strokes are all aggressive, he can't really grind. So he's got pretty tough decisions - every ball that he DOESN'T go for it he's digging himself into a deeper hole in the point, because the longer the rally goes the more likely he is to get behind in it.

Blake has to tread a very, very fine line - he has to go for a winner or a kill shot AS SOON AS HE CAN, but no sooner. I can't blame him for getting that wrong sometimes. He's not like Federer or Nadal, who can wait and play defense if they don't like their offensive position - Blake doesn't have the loopy or spinny consistent defensive shots to play.

Ahh, when you put it that way it makes sense. What I don't like is say it's breakpoint to him and on the first ball from the server he goes all out and misses a return long. That just doesn't make sense to me. He's a frustrating player to watch!

superman1
04-22-2008, 04:05 PM
Blake doesn't have any weaknesses in his game, when you think about it. He's like Safin, except with a huge forehand instead of a huge backhand, and better movement. The problem with Blake is all in his head. If he makes one bad error, then he'll make 4 more bad errors.

MariaS
04-22-2008, 04:57 PM
I think Blake needs more of a temper on the court. He's too nice. :neutral:

Forehand Forever
04-22-2008, 05:06 PM
Whoever said that he lost to 2 nobodies, it's pretty easy to lose to these nobodies. These players go out with nothing to lose and the top player that's playing them doesn't know anything about their game, style of play, or anything like that.

thalivest
04-22-2008, 05:08 PM
Blake doesn't have any weaknesses in his game, when you think about it. He's like Safin, except with a huge forehand instead of a huge backhand, and better movement. The problem with Blake is all in his head. If he makes one bad error, then he'll make 4 more bad errors.

His only great shot is his forehand though. His serve is only a bit better then average in todays game, it isnt really a weapon. His return is too inconsistent to be one of the best. He doesnt volley that well, but then again hardly anyone does these days. His backhand is only pretty good, it too isnt a great shot or anything. I wouldnt say he is like Safin in reverse off the ground. Safin's forehand at his best is much more a weapon then Blake's backhand. Safin at his best could beat Federer on a fairly good day. Blake at his best could not.

Nellie
04-22-2008, 07:20 PM
Blake is like a bully who can push around lesser players but does not match up well against the elite players.

shawn1122
04-22-2008, 07:45 PM
Totally agree. He should also fire his coach who isn't helping him in the least. It makes no sense to have an ironclad contract with anyone. A coach's job should be dependent on your success. I fault Blake for not letting him go and Barker for not stepping down. When you know your player has plateaued with you, the honorable thing to do would be to say, "I've done as much as I can, but in your last remaining years maybe you need a new voice." Blake needs a new coach and a sports psychologist!

I don't know how many here have read Blake's book. Blake didn't play tennis when he was very young or go to any of those academies and such, he was a pretty normal kid. And he's had his coach since he was twelve or something like that, I highly doubt he's going to fire the guy that brought him this far, in fact he most probably never will. The guy seems more than happy where he is right now to be honest..

TheTruth
04-22-2008, 09:25 PM
I don't know how many here have read Blake's book. Blake didn't play tennis when he was very young or go to any of those academies and such, he was a pretty normal kid. And he's had his coach since he was twelve or something like that, I highly doubt he's going to fire the guy that brought him this far, in fact he most probably never will. The guy seems more than happy where he is right now to be honest..

He said he wouldn't, but it's a pity. This is a career we're talking about, it makes no sense to retire slamless when the possibility existed.