Why Does James Blake Choke?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Tennisguy777, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Tennisguy777

    Tennisguy777 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    857
    Location:
    Somewhere In the jungles of Africa
    Is it just me or is James Blake a CHOKE ARTIST? He seems to lose in so many finals and tight matches. I love the guy and root for him but he really knows how to disappoint. I mean he couldn't win 5 setters until last year. He has the game to be in the top 5, but he just can't choke off the chokingness. Am I the only one who feels this? I hope he reads this!
     
    #1
  2. Nadal_Freak

    Nadal_Freak Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    10,625
    Location:
    Harker Heights, Texas
    I'd say he is more streaky than choking like. His game can go south quickly. He hits so flat that he will definitely have his ups and downs.
     
    #2
  3. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,697
    Actually, I tend to agree with you now. Never thought of it that way before. In the past, I'd say Blake was definitely a choker, but he's since shown a few fearless performances in the clutch...and then again, some not so...

    I think with Blake now, he's worked very hard on his choking tendencies, but still the problem remains for him of the kind of game he plays. It's like Srichiphan. They go for a lot of flat shots with low margin of error over the net. When you play that way sometimes, you feel dialed in and sometimes you don't. That feeling tends to go up and down throughout a match, I think irrespective of nerves. It's just the nature of the beast when you play that way. You feel slightly out of tweak for bits and pieces at the wrong time...and wala, you've Cartman calling you a choker.
     
    #3
  4. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,834
    Location:
    New York City
    He over thinks the totality of his circumstances instead of simply thinking about the point at hand.
     
    #4
  5. Puma

    Puma Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    Texas
    I think Storm is right, along with the fact that he hits it so flat and hard he hardly has any margin. Once he gets tight and he begins to miss, the court he is hitting into gets smaller and smaller. For me, it is tough to watch because he is such a likeable guy.....
     
    #5
  6. tenniskid3119

    tenniskid3119 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    582
    Location:
    East Texas
    why does anybody choke?.... everybody gets a little tight or nervous, but some people handle it better than others.
     
    #6
  7. Lee James

    Lee James Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Messages:
    365
    I agree with the above statements on his game style. I'd also add that I don't get the sense that he has the killer instinct. He just seems to be a little too nice.
     
    #7
  8. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,364
    Isn't there a weekly limit to James Blake choking threads? If there isn't there should be.
     
    #8
  9. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,420
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    I agree. Last I checked Blake is a top ten player. There is currently, at the most, 9 guys on the planet with a higher ranking. I would what would be his ranking against the players on this board?

    When Blake's career as a pro tennis player is over, dispite not winning a grand slam...I'm sure he will think that life is pretty sweet from where he sits.
     
    #9
  10. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,364
    True that!!! - but it's also that I think there were about 20 threads already on the subject after the loss in the US Clay Court Champ.
     
    #10
  11. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,834
    Location:
    New York City
    Yeah, but you can't deny the reality that a lot of people see him as a bit of a choker, more so than any other top player it seems.
     
    #11
  12. Gundam

    Gundam Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    409
    We had guys like Connors and we have guys like Blake.
    Wait, there were guys like Guga, Edberg and Rafter. Extremely nice or likeable or gentle etc but still competitive.
    :neutral:
     
    #12
  13. Lee James

    Lee James Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Messages:
    365
    I think that if he thinks that way, then it's part of the problem.
     
    #13
  14. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,007
    Maybe he eats too fast?
     
    #14
  15. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Messages:
    6,902
    Location:
    In an in between place.
    Everyone is different.
     
    #15
  16. PROTENNIS63

    PROTENNIS63 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,722
    Blake comes into the match with only Plan A. He has no Plan B and when Plan A starts to fail, James starts to throw his hands into the air shaking his head, etc.
     
    #16
  17. kabob

    kabob Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Dallas
    I completely agree with the comments about Blake just plain being streaky. Look at his Davis Cup performance against Paul-Henri Mathieu two weeks ago. He had no right to win that match and was being outplayed handily yet during crunch time, including hitting return winners with Mathieu serving for the match, he came through from behind.
     
    #17
  18. alcap26

    alcap26 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    438
    He is a choker and it is karma jumping up and taking a huge bit out of his ass over that ridiculos J block crap at the us open every year. It is an old and tired act.
     
    #18
  19. Aabye

    Aabye Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Everyone mentioned streaky and nice, which definitely look to play a part in it. But I also wonder if some of it can't chalked up to thinking to much about it.
     
    #19
  20. shavenstringer

    shavenstringer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    467
    Should Blake Retire?
     
    #20
  21. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,479
    Location:
    So Cal
    I was expecting someone to mention his inferior calf development... :)

    I'll side with those who've mentioned his style and lack of an alternative plan. His game is high risk/high reward. And he's not going to deviate. In the last few yrs he's come up with a little defense and patience. But not much - and when things get tight he goes back to what he knows - going for winners from just about anywhere on the court.


    http://www.angrybackhand.com
     
    #21
  22. Lee James

    Lee James Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Messages:
    365
    I wonder, with his quickness around the court, would it really be that difficult for him to spend more time working on his defensive game?
     
    #22
  23. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,479
    Location:
    So Cal
    He definitely has the skills to do it - the quickness you mention and the ability to hit all shots - just lacks the temperment. And at his age, I don't see him getting it. I think he'll play another 2-3 yrs in the same style and move on - he'll have tons of cash, will still be able to get the ladies, and find other things to do.



    http://www.angrybackhand.com
     
    #23
  24. miniRafa386

    miniRafa386 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    bingo

    i dont think he chokes, it just that once his game starts to go south, his whole mental game changes. if hes playin well, his head is held high and he sticks his chest out, but when hes losing or not playin well, he slouches his shoulders and in my opinion, doesnt try his hardest to win.
     
    #24
  25. Tennisguy777

    Tennisguy777 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    857
    Location:
    Somewhere In the jungles of Africa
    That is what you call choking; losing matches that you are expected to win. Like when Qualifier Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to win an ATP title in 16 years by upsetting top-seeded James Blake, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, in the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. That my friends is choking. But at least he figured him out by the time they played a few weeks later. Being top 10 in the world is great but getting a few titles on your strings is better.
     
    #25
  26. James

    James New User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    33
    As others have pointed out, it's not so much that he chokes but that his game is too streaky and high-risk to produce anything other than high highs and low lows (which is of course a big factor in why he has such a poor five-set record - that sort of play works against you over an extended period of time).

    And while he doesn't choke, his mental game is such that you'd never know he was an Ivy Leaguer. It's exactly at the times when he should start playing more within himself that he decides to go for broke, and when things aren't going his way he speeds up his play instead of taking take the time to pause and reset his brain.
     
    #26
  27. Fries-N-Gravy

    Fries-N-Gravy Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    478
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    he's only human
     
    #27
  28. hewitt20

    hewitt20 New User

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    he playes such high risk tennis it is tough to play that way through a whole torny
     
    #28
  29. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,035
    Did you see the match? I did and Nishikori played superbly from what I recall. Fast and precise players, such as Santoro, can get under his skin.

    He tries to hit through his opponents and if he presses too much sometimes he misses and gets frustrated. He's an aggressive player and aggressive players can be more prone to choking.
     
    #29
  30. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    6,082
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    James isnt a choker.

    His game just isnt good enough to be top 5 or win major.

    James plays flat hard hitting low percentage high stakes tennis which can be very streaky.
     
    #30
  31. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW

    While 100% true, JB has a lesser Mental Game than some others. Luckily for him, it is totally fixable.
     
    #31
  32. scineram

    scineram Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    Hellhole Hungary
    Dumbest contemporary tennis player.
     
    #32
  33. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,035
    Not true. Even the great Federer has had moments of stubborn nonsense, like when he lost to Volandri. I saw that match and he was playing like a pissed off college guy. Djokovic in his loss to Santoro was ridiculous. Blake, though, does have a strong tendency to fall apart if things don't go his way.
     
    #33

Share This Page