James Blake = Biggest waste of talent ever

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by jakemcclain32, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    Seriously, how many five setters does this guy have to get into at Wimbledon? He has more pure talent than a guy like Roddick, yet Roddick has gone farther.

    Just like Donald Young and Gael Monfils, Blake has a load of big shots on youtube to wag your tongue at, but he's not a winner, and he doesn't compose himself like one.

    It's just too bad that players like that, who should have been the cream of the crop, just stay complacent year after year.
     
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  2. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    And why is that? Unlike Roddick, Blake hasn't swallowed his pride and gone to a coach who will get him exactly what he needs to succeed. Curious, those other players have that same fault in common. ;)
     
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  3. Buckethead

    Buckethead Banned

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    LOL, Blake super talented???
     
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  4. Comet Buster

    Comet Buster Banned

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    Safin and Krajicek, regardless of how many injuries they had are the biggest wastes of talent I've seen. At their best they could handily beat some of the best players ever and make it look easy sometimes. Blake at his best is a dangerous player but even when 'on' Blake never had a big win at a Major.



    For his skills he underachieved but definately not the biggest waste of talent ever. The guy had half a brain on court at the most, relied solely on his FH and movement. His return was Agassi like but was too aggressive at times. Had hopeless decision making skills and never came to the net. Could have made a few semifinals in slams if he achieved to his full potential.



    As for the Blake/Roddick comparison. Roddick is the bigger underachiever. He lost more than Blake ever gained. Had chances at Wimbledon 04 & 09, had chances at US Open 06 & 07. Then we have the little factor of the difference in serves. Blake's main weapon wasn't consistent. Roddick's was.
     
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  5. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    lol what?


    Roddick is considered one of the greatest overachievers of all time, winning purely on his determination to win at times.



    Blake has far more weapons than Roddick ever has; the issue has always been between the head. He has a far better backhand, moves better, volleys better, and has just as dangerous as a forehand as peak Roddick did. Blake is an underachiever in the sense that he had so many weapons but he couldn't ever put it together.
     
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  6. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Roddick is a way better player. He is more consistent, has more variety, plays like he has a game plan and has good match and court awareness. Blake just strings together random strokes that look good on their own but don't add up to anything on the whole.
     
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  7. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

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    Roddick's serve is one of the biggest weapons in the history of the game. And Comet and Devilito make great points about Roddick's ability to be consistent to be far greater than Blake's. Having what it takes between the ears is part of being talented.

    Blake shot by shot may be better, but Roddick's serve is stronger than anything Blake has, and the rest of his game at his best was better than Blake's. You also seem to be forgetting that Roddick at one point had one of if not the biggest FH in the game circa 03-04. So it's not like Rod is some talentless schlub who's lucky to be top 10.

    Blake is a better shotmaker than Rod, but Roddick is the more complete player and his game is more suited to success due to his consistency.
     
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  8. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I wonder if Lleyton Hewitt could discover any similarity between the players you list :)
     
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  9. rainingaces

    rainingaces Legend

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    Blake is a great example of making the maximum out of what you got. No harder worker then Blake.
     
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  10. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Roger is the biggest waste of talent. He could have won 20 slams by now, and also that Olympic title too, had he not lost to .... Blake.
     
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  11. tusharlovesrafa

    tusharlovesrafa Hall of Fame

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    SEntinal is the biigest waste of talent ..He could have been a Women if he had XX cromosome instead XY cromosome..:twisted:
     
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  12. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    he's past his prime so its impolite to criticise
     
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  13. Comet Buster

    Comet Buster Banned

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    Most great players win through determination. Roddick is an underachiever because he could have played so much more aggressive and won at least 1 or 2 more slams. But you could say he overahieved because he was stuck playing a very defensive game yet didn't fade away. Your choice.


    The serve of Roddick puts him ahead of Blake. I've already mentioned this. FH for FH I'd probably take Roddick's actually. You mentioned Blake's netplay. I can't remember a match where Blake won a big match because of his net skills. At least for Roddick he's got Wimbledon 09 to show for volleying great, especially against Murray who is one of the best passers in the game.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
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  14. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    athletically yes. He has great power and was incredibly fast and explosive in his prime.

    But I would call him rather a great athlete than a great tennis player although he has a nice stroke technique.
     
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  15. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    Last checked, Blake was once the 4th ranked player in the world, year end. Monfils in the number one player in France; country littered with some of the world's best tennis players. And you going to compare them to Young?

    How can your post even be taken seriously. I know, I replied to this not so serious post. So it doesn't speak well of my judgement. But I know enough to know that Blake is not a waste of talent.
     
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  16. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    Thank you saying what I was thinking!!
     
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  17. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    james may be a waste of talent but today, on the other side of the net, there was a bigger one ! ;)
     
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  18. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'd say he's much more of an overachiever than he is an underachiever. I honestly think he got the most out of his talent.
     
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  19. FeVer

    FeVer Semi-Pro

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    There are loads of great talents that just can't get their heads together: Verdasco, Blake, Safin, Baghdatis, Tsonga etc. 90% of tennis happens in the mind.

    Or was that cricket? Oh well, the principle's the same.
     
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  20. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I am not entirely sure what to make of Blake. Sometimes I think he could have had a Davydenko like career so is a bit of an underachiever. Other times I think he is an overachiever with his rather one dimensional high risk game, and how late he became a top player.

    Really it is pointless to judge his performances now. He is 31, has had alot of injuries and is WAY past his prime. If he wins some matches and is able to be a top 100 player at this point he is doing very well. It is delusional to expect him to be playing top 10 tennis when he needs to be at his career peak to be top 10 caliber, and someone far more talented like Federer is even a shadow of himself at 29 (he is only still at #3 since being 50% of what he was he is still better than everyone other than Nadal or Djokovic, he is just that superior).

    The Roddick comparision isnt really a good one. The serve is the most important shot in tennis and Roddick has one of the best serves in history. Karlovic without his serve for instance would be a park player but instead he is a top 30 player i the World.

    Roddick is also much more consistent even if less powerful and lethal off the ground, and mentally is much tougher than Blake. There are many guys who arent even as good as prime Blake who can still outhit Roddick minus the 03-04 forehand off the ground, return better, move better, and volley better, and the vast majority of those were always below Roddick.
     
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  21. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    I find the word 'talent' often used rather loosely. Just because someone is athletic, goes for overly aggressive big shots (and misses a lot), and is hot-headed on the court, it doesnt make him tennis talented.

    Tennis talent is the ability to put your strengths together, make good shot choice, and be consistent.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
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  22. BS, Blake definetely made the most of his career, lets face it he is/was not a supertalent, he was ranked top 5 for some time making 1 YEC-final, just as good as Nadal!
     
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  23. accidental

    accidental Professional

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    For a guy who went to Harvard, Blake can be an incredibly dumb player
     
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  24. IvanisevicServe

    IvanisevicServe Banned

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    Blake's just a "swing for the fences" guy, and that doesn't bode well in the long run. He has tons of pure power (his serve and forehand, anyway) and speed, but his all-around shot making isn't elite. He's dangerous, but he's not a "Grand Slam champion" kind of guy. His main problem as far as "underachieving" goes has been injuries.
     
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  25. Marty502

    Marty502 Rookie

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    Marcelo Rios = Biggest waste of talent ever.

    Simply a catastrophic underachiever. He had tennis to win more than a few slams. Won a few MS shields. Got zero slams.

    Way worse than Blake in this aspect.
     
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  26. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Blake was a top 5 player, and during his prime he had a freak injury. You can't blame him for that, and being annoyed at his performance today when he's 31 doesn't mean anything.
     
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  27. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    First of all, let's quit this "Best player in France" BS that Monfils gets. That man is seriously the most gifted talent, athletically, we've seen on a tennis court. Combine that with his height and range, along with his talent, and he should be #1 in the world. Wins over Nadal and Federer at certain times shows that he has it, but his problem is between his ears. Like the last tournament he was in.....loses in the semis to a doubles player. It's like the guy needs an intervention to be reminded how gifted he truly is, and the talents he truly has.

    I get on Blake because the performance today epitomizes his whole career. This isn't just from a 31 year old man. He's 8-10 at Wimbledon now, so that means a bunch of second round losses, and two first round losses. He's better than that.

    And let's be serious. Roddick isn't exactly Karlovic(Love the club player moniker someone gave him), but he's basically all serve when his head goes away. Blake's better talentwise.
     
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  28. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    Rod Laver was commenting on a Blake match at USA two years ago, I think. He pointed to a shot Blake missed from fifteen feet behind the baseline and said, why try to hit a winner from there? If he would just work on his shot selection, he would have made it to a few grandslam semifinals. That and developing a real serve. The loss to Agassi in the quarters at USO was a huge turning point, that would have made a big difference. An

    By the way, we have to stop pretending Roddick has the old forehand. Blake's forehand is a weapon, Roddick's isn't.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
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  29. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Possibly but there is more to being a great tennis player than athleticsm.

    He has underachieved for sure. Whether he is #1 material is a whole other matter though.

    It doesnt prove he should be #1 though. The following players have also beaten Federer and Nadal:

    Nalbandian
    Murray
    Djokovic
    Berdych
    Roddick
    Hewitt
    Ferrero
    Blake
    Davydenko
    Melzer
    Tsonga
    Del Potro
    Baghdatis
    Simon
    Soderling

    Monfils barely made this list as he had to save a bunch of match points in his only win over Federer. He isnt even the first or second player from France to manage it though.

    Actually on grass he isnt much better than that. Blake is a hard court player period, and in his prime an excellent one who would have made a hard court slam final probably if he didnt keep drawing Federer. He is a male Clijsters, just not too as high a level.


    The serve is the most important shot in tennis. Roddick was highly gifted in the most important aspect of the sport by far. Many guys seem all around more talented than Roddick and very few of them have or ever will be better.

    Blake was never considered as promising as Roddick. Did you follow tennis in the early 2000s. Roddick was projected as a multi slam winner back then. After his U.S Open win some even saw him as a long standing #1 before Federer took over. Blake was never projected to even make the top 10, let alone the top 5. You make it sound like Blake was considered more promising than Roddick. Maybe you did, but nobody else ever felt that way.
     
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  30. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Laver's assessment of Blake reminds me of some Beastie Boys lyrics:

    He got shot selection in a wide array
    James des bon mots pour vous manger
    the J-block people scream, 'oui, oui c'est vrai"
    and he got a remote for his bidet.
     
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  31. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    I've watched tennis since 1985. My first ever match I ever watched was Becker-Curran. That's what made me a fan of Becker, and tennis in general.

    I know the serve is the most important, but we have tons of awesome servers that have zero other game....like Karlovic, Isner, Querrey(to be fair, Querrey can play the net), and the like. Roddick has more than the serve, but he relies on it too much, and the bigger players can end him like that.
     
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  32. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Why was Gonzo, overall, a better swing-for-the-fences player than Blake?
     
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  33. President

    President Legend

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    I think his forehand, while massive, had a lot more margin than Blake's because it had a lot of topspin as well. He also seemed more willing to rally than Blake, who appeared unable to resist going for a winner as soon as possible. His slice backhand was better as well IMO as well as his serve, both of which are kind of weak for Blake.
     
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  34. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    Gonzo (where is he, by the way?) never went for it on both sides.

    Querrey, by the way, is the opposite of "good at the net."
     
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  35. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    I'm kind of comparing him to clods like Isner and Karlovic, who, for 9 foot tall mastodons, cover the court like midgets.
     
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  36. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Blake has achieved far more than Isner or Karlovic . And Isner and Karlovic are only further proof of how important the serve is, as with Simon's serve neither would even play professional tennis, especialy Karlovic.
     
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  37. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    Isn't it amazing how guys with a 9 foot wingspan have the court coverage of Oudin?
     
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  38. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    He's 30....do you expect him to win at that stage. I mean at his best he was mesmerizing...05-06....vintage blake!
     
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  39. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Blake is definitely more athletic than Roddick (at least much quicker). But, tennis is more than athleticism.

    I don't think many people expected Blake to be in Top 10, and I think he definitely exceeded expectations.

    Talent wise, I don't think he is a waste at all. He is atheltic, very quick, but I don't think his game really evolved or developed all that much in terms of learning how to compete and play a match. He improved his backhand and serve - technically. His shot selection is awful. He wants to be aggressive and go for his shots all the time - serve, return, backhand, forehand...regardless of score, court position, or situation. The idea of construting a point doesn't seem to register in his head.

    On the other hand, Roddick's game evolved a lot more. His serve is definitely big, but he is more than that - he is much better at playing the score and situation. You don't stay within top 10 for nearly 10 years without improving.
     
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  40. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    How much better was he really though? Seems like they've had fairly similar careers to me. I mean you have to rate Gonzo a little higher probably because he's had better overall slam results. But both finished year-end top 10 for 2 years. Neither has won a masters series even, but both have made 2 masters series finals. Blake has won 10 career titles, Gonzo 11. Blake's career high was #4, Gonzo #5.

    Seems like fairly similar careers to me, again with the difference being a couple GS runs (F AO, SF FO) for Gonzo.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
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  41. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Gonzo seems overrated on this forum. Gonzo played the match of his life and still lost to Ivan Ljubicic from 6-3, 2-0 up in the quarters of the 2006 Madrid Masters in what was his best chance ever at a Masters title. He played perfect tennis with no unforced errors in any of the games he lost, except 1 or 2 in the 2nd set tiebreak which he lost 7-2 so wasnt winning anyway, and still couldnt beat Ljubicic in arguably his biggest match ever from way ahead. Ljubicic went on to lose to 19 year old Nadal in the final of the same event.
     
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  42. Spider

    Spider Hall of Fame

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    If by 'talent' you mean 'mindless ball bashing' -- Blake is right up there.
     
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  43. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    Spider, the mindless ball bashing is his style and lack of thought process, not his talent. The guy's got a hell of a lot of talent, and always has.
     
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  44. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Good point. In my head, I imagined that Gonzo had a considerably better career when everything was taken into account. Looking deeper, Gonzo has 5 Slam QFs and 4 4th Rnds vs. Blake's 3 and 4, which is pretty similar. You're right, the two Slam runs for Gonzo is all that really sets him apart.

    Another distinguishing thing, if it matters, is that outside of their 2 Masters finals, Gonzo had 6 additional Masters SFs, Blake only 1.
     
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  45. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    We probably wont ever find out exactly how talented Blake was sine it seemed he believed that the only way for him to succeed was to go for winners quickly in points. Perhaps he lacked faith in his own overall abilities and perhaps that was his downfall. Or maybe those abilities werent there as he would probably know best. It is hard to say as he never really tried to explore other ways of playing. It is strange someone who moves so well seems scared of playing any defense as he basically admited in his own book he was.
     
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  46. Ray Mercer

    Ray Mercer Semi-Pro

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    Blake was great to watch back about 5 years ago. You were always guaranteed to see some amazing gets, some ridiculous service returns and some forehand bombs. His beatdown of Nadal at the YE Masters and the US Open are classics. Someone please post the youtube video where he rips a forehand return of that Asian guy's serve. Blake was always one of the more entertaining guys on the tour to watch and he always showed great sportsmanship.
     
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  47. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    #47
  48. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

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    Don't know if this is the one you're talking a/b, but it's from AO 06 against some French guy Faurel, not an Asian.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM-xrbvXdGI
     
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  49. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Blake was never going to win consistentcy battles. He would would win when his FH was on and he was keping the other guy off balance.

    James Blakes talent was not top 5 player worthy IMO. He used what he had to the max. Cuold he have gotten a better draw somewhere and possibly backed into a slam with the proper matchups? Its possible, but at no point was he a threat to make make a final, and even the semis was considered a good run.

    He was a gifted athelete that adapeted that to tennis to the best of his abities. I dont think he wasted anything.
     
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  50. Ray Mercer

    Ray Mercer Semi-Pro

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    Yeah my bad I couldn't remember the opponent. What a ridiculous return.
     
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