James Blake . . . modern day Sampson?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by irishbanger, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. irishbanger

    irishbanger Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    333
    The biblical Sampson lost all of his power when he cut his hair. Could this be the reason for Blake's recent downfall? Will he ever get back?
     
    #1
  2. dander

    dander Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    321
    blake never had any power, just marketing hype and exposure for the hewitt linesman incident
     
    #2
  3. rhubarb

    rhubarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,679
    Didn't hurt AA ;)
     
    #3
  4. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    13,746
    He hasn't been back since that freak accident with the net post when he injured his head and his spine. Not a good thing for a person with scoliosis. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him back at Harvard.
     
    #4
  5. Fee

    Fee Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,299
    Location:
    In front of my computer, obviously
    He played the Hall of Fame tournament in Newport Rhode Island after Wimbledon, so he has been back since that freak net post accident. Unfortunately, he injured his arm in that tournament, so he needed to take two weeks off for that and then I think he caught some virus and had to withdraw from Cincinnati. I'm pretty sure he still plans to be in Washington DC this weekend to play there next week.

    If James was preoccupied by anything this season it wasn't the loss of his hair, it was the slow death of his father from cancer. The one good thing about that freak injury in Rome was that it allowed James to be home with his father for the last few weeks of his life. Thomas died on Saturday and James and Thomas (Jr) were in Newport to play on Monday, at their father's request. I think the virus he caught may have been part of the stress of the grief and everything else. I'd bet that James is now healthy and ready to get back on court to play his best tennis. I sure hope so anyway because he is one of my favorite people and players.
     
    #5
  6. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    I second Fee, James is an awesome and classy player. I want to see him back and well again.
     
    #6
  7. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    4,202
    I also don't think cutting his hair has made a difference. He's had a lot of bad luck lately, and I look forward to seeing him back in action soon. Although given the talent on today's Tour, he has a tough row to how to get to where folks thought he'd be by now.

    But that's true of all players.

    All the best to him.
     
    #7
  8. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Beyond Thunderdome
    yeah, you know, he's really just not very good though, at least not as good as he was supposed to be by now, not as good as he was supposed to be then. i really wouldn't get my hopes up that he will accomplish anything worth remembering. at least agassi could really play.
     
    #8
  9. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,006
    blake

    As already mentioned james has had alot of problems to deal with off the court. How can someone possible criticise a guy who spent many years with a back brace, and yet still been in the top 30. He is such a bubbly character and a role model for young kids. The guy also posses alot of talent, especially that "monster" forehand. With injurys and personal problems, I cant see him having a strong finish this year but im sure he will be top 20 in years to come.
     
    #9
  10. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    Why do you (Brettolius) just pounce on a guy when he is down? And he already accomplished something worth remembering. When he turned the other cheek when Hewitt made his comment in the memorable match.
     
    #10
  11. Russell Finch

    Russell Finch Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Messages:
    188
    I don't think the disappearance of his hair was a matter of choice, he was in the same boat as AA a few years ago (and Rusedski now!!).

    I hope he comes back strong as he's good to watch and seems like one of the good guys.
     
    #11
  12. Cypo

    Cypo Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    355
    Thanks Fee for filling us in - I hadn't caught any of that. My sympathies to him, losing your father must be really hard. I really like Blake, both for his tennis and for his character and I really hope he achieves that extra inch separating him from the greats. I think he has it in him.
     
    #12
  13. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Beyond Thunderdome
    how is that "pouncing" on the guy when he's down. i just think that he was overhyped before this year and really had no worthwile results. i didn't think much of him before this year regardless of what has happened recently. i mean he's still in all kinds of ads but then you have a guy like fish who acually has had some results,and you really don't hear about other than hardcore fans. i just think blake has got alot of undeserved credit. guess what...that memorable match with hewitt...blake did not win. its not like he's martin luther king, i mean what did you think he was going to do? jump over the net and kick his ass? my comments were referring to tennis results,or lack thereof. not that he's a bad guy, just overhyped.
     
    #13
  14. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    He is not over hyped. There was an ad campaign but it promoted all the young stars of the game (Blake included). Blake is a great role model to all. He finished college, is well spoken, acts like a gentleman on the court, and he can kick some ass on the courts too.
     
    #14
  15. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Beyond Thunderdome
    i do not believe he finished college
     
    #15
  16. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    Your right, I just checked. He finished 3 years of college. In a recent interview he said he would definitely go back to Harvard to finish his degree. That says something about him. Playing Tennis isnt only about strokes, its a combination of tangible and intangible things.
     
    #16
  17. Fee

    Fee Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,299
    Location:
    In front of my computer, obviously
    Brett you were a bit harsh. James got attention because he was a young player, a nice guy, good looking and he was beginning to move up in the rankings. I don't know this 'overhyping' that you speak of. He was mentioned just as much as other young american players were in the american media and he may have had a little bit more attention because he was always willing to go out and promote the game on behalf of the USTA or tournaments or whatever. To compare him to Agassi, as you did, is just plain silly. James has only been a pro a couple of years and the bulk of his career is ahead of him.
     
    #17
  18. hippoti8

    hippoti8 New User

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Messages:
    23
    Good point. Anyway, maybe he'll be revived at the Legg Mason....
     
    #18
  19. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Beyond Thunderdome
    actually i was responding to what rhubarb had posted, not comparing AA and blake myself, but adding my 2 cents to the comparison that he had drawn to the 2 of them.hey, i'll gladly eat crow if does he something spectacular and starts winning and breaks into the top ten. this whole post is similar to the espn deal with the americans as well, because there are plenty of higher ranked,classy and more talented foreign players than blake,say like a jiri novak,but they get no run on these boards. my point being people saying they hope blake can return to his old form, i guess that being going out early in majors and winning 0 tourneys. i don't dislike the guy and i don't mean to sound like i am attacking him, but jeez, its like tiger beat around here when somebody brings up blake. all i'm saying is he hasn't won anything, for someone who's on video games for chrissakes.[/quote]
     
    #19
  20. Fee

    Fee Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,299
    Location:
    In front of my computer, obviously
    He won Legg Mason 2 years ago, beating Agassi along the way, so your assertion of 0 tourneys is incorrect. I don't think that James is going to do anything 'spectacular', but so what. Most decent tennis players never do. What I know of these guys and the lives they lead, the fact that they can put up with the BS they deal with for 40 weeks a year is impressive enough for me. James will probably be a fairly consistent Top 30/Top 40 player for the bulk of his career and he may even break the Top 20 here and there. He will continue to be well-liked by fans because he is classy, intelligent, and willing to help promote the game, regardless of how many titles he wins or how deep he goes at majors. His career will probably be very similar to his good friend Todd Martin's, and I see no shame in that whatsoever.

    I am not familiar with tennis video games, but if he's on one perhaps you should take that up with the game's designers and ask them why they chose him (perhaps it was a marketing decision or he was willing to give up the licensing rights?). As for Jiri Novak, I don't know that much about him and I'm sure a lot of other people here don't either, so feel free to start a thread about him anytime.
     
    #20
  21. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    I agree with Fee. Two people with 3 letter names cant be wrong.
     
    #21
  22. rhubarb

    rhubarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,679
    Ha, hadn't even realised. Mine was just a throwaway comment really, I didn't mean it to be taken at all seriously :)

    I don't have a big opinion on Blake and haven't seen him play, but in general my sentiments are the same as yours, i.e. I can't say I'm terribly impressed based on results so far. I have the same view on all the other youngish Americans apart from Roddick I guess.
     
    #22
  23. Chanchai

    Chanchai Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    787
    Eh... way it goes... can you really blame promoters for trying to promote tennis players that probably have the easiest connection to certain fans--homeland? Not really... but I agree that it does get annoying when commentators go overboard and beyond reason or at least, put in things like "he has a chance of making it in the top 10" when they mean "he has a very small chance of making it in the top 10, but we'd love to see that because America (or insert your home country here) would have another guy to go behind even if they don't know anything about him."

    Ai Sugiyama is like the savior of tennis in Japan and you always see features of her in magazines. Hyun Taik Lee is the savior of tennis in South Korea. Maybe Wayne Ferreira's been the last big hope of South African Tennis? Maybe Robin Soderling is the next Bjorn Borg? Richard Gasquet is the next great French player. Maybe Fernando Gonzalez is Chile's last hope after the disaster known as Rios? Asian Americans are dying for a top 20 Asian American player, I guess.

    I don't know if I'd say it's overhype so much as overpromotion. I dont think they ever said Blake was going to be the next Agassi. If they compared him to Arthur Ashe, it makes sense because Blake pretty much makes statements that he'd love to have the sort of impact Arthur Ashe did. Ashe wasn't the greatest player (but did win some great titles), not really a hall of famer by stats alone, but the guy brought various appeal--obviously the racial barrier appeal (though many seem to forget Gibson), the Jackie Robinson appeal, and later in life he had the ambassador appeal.

    As for videogames.... it's up to a combination of the publisher of the videogame title (who generally holds the license for anything needing a license or agreement), the agents and representatives of the players (Octagon, IMG, Mirka, etc...), the players themselves, market analysts (supposedly, probably in big thanks to his agent and company, Blake became a very marketable tennis athlete after the US Open match with Hewitt, as a priviliged african-american (and also english and mixed), good looking, and getting a spot on People Magazine's beautiful people list at the end of the year), and occasionally the game designers/studio. The game designers don't really have the first input on which players get in, but they are responsible for trying to depict certain players in certain ways in the game and capturing how they play, etc... I would interpret Blake being in a videogame (same with Ashley Harkleroad) being more a product of successful marketing (via agent and company) and pitching (directly contacting the developers) than anything else. However, if he's popular or at least recognizable, he definitely gets consideration, but that's still part of what the agent does.

    Anyways... I'm not saying I'm taking what any of you guys are saying as extreme. Just a reclarification. However, Blake does have a certain charisma in the common US demographic (maybe even some in the english demographic?) as well as obvious factors that play well in these days. If we're pulling for him, it's not because we think he's Federer. It's simply because we like him. And maybe we like him because of successful marketing and exposure, but at least what we have seen, we have liked from him (usually anyways). I wouldn't say he's overhyped, but I'd say he's just very well marketed and suits the casual mainstream audience's checklist of things to like in a tennis player, aside from legendary potential (which he doesn't have). I am convinced he can become a really good player (just not legendary or one of the greats) and I do enjoy watching him play. But yes, when people like Cliff Drysdale makes comments like "With that forehand, which is one of the biggest (uh huh), and his speed when he's in full sprint, I think he can make it to the top 5 by the end of 2003" -- well, when Cliffy says stuff like that... I dismiss it, but totally understand how many of you probably feel when you say the guy is overhyped. But again, that's Cliffy saying it... How many people take the guy literally or think he has the ability to predict?

    -Chanchai
     
    #23
  24. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    Good post Chanchai, I do agree Cliff is over the hill. Anyone else seem to notice that his making mistakes more often when commentating? I think something is up with him.
     
    #24
  25. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Beyond Thunderdome
    michelob... because so much is riding on your tires. -cliffy drysdale
     
    #25
  26. Eug

    Eug Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    241
    lol @ Brettolius
     
    #26
  27. bigserving

    bigserving Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    609
    I am not sure what anyone means about the "overhype" that Blake has received. He is still easily one of the top ten best tennis players in America. Anyone in the top ten of most anything, to me, is impressive. Those of us who remember when he first decided to go on tour, the consensus was........ BAD decision, stay in school James. He was never projected to reach and sustain the level of tennis that he has to this point. I think that if he can improve a couple aspects of his game 5-10 percent, he could be top ten. Will that happen, who knows?

    He has already accomplished far more than what was projected when he first went on tour. Whatever he does from this point forward is gravy.

    He continues to be a good ambassador for the game and is very entertaining to watch in a live match.
     
    #27
  28. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,915
    Location:
    Parts unknown
    think we can agree blake is a jorneyman pro. he's fast and a good athlete and a nice guy, but has no real consisitent weapon, isnt a good closer, and makes lots of mental errors and bad choices out there. think he is def a level or two below todd martin. perhaps he was hyped for the same reason(s) that kournekova was. ed
     
    #28
  29. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    4,202
    I agree with Ed, and disagree with the comment that, when all is said and done, James will be at the same level as Todd Martin. He will in terms of class and sportsmanship, but not in terms of overall results. I very much doubt he will ever be in a slam final. Todd was in two.
     
    #29

Share This Page