I ask this as a James Blake fan.
He was a good tour-level player, made 3 Slam QFs, had some wins over big players, got into the Top 10 and acheived a No. 4 ranking at his peak. 10 titles overall, composed of 9 250s and 1 500-level event.
In my opinion, while this is a very good career, it is not the sort of career that is the foundation of a "legacy" that is in any way ruined by sticking around and dropping in the rankings.
Will I think any differently of James Blake because of the less-than-impressive tail end of his career? No way. I'll remember him for his headband, his insane power, his pure speed, his controversial matches (Hewitt USO, Gonzalez at the Olympics), his Sideshow Bob-looking brother, and his ability to bother anyone when in "on" mode (which hardly ever lasted long enough).
There's not enough of a legacy or aura or anything else that would be diminished by going out as a lower-ranked player.
IMO, the queston would be better directed at someone like Hewitt.
Last edited by bluetrain4; 02-16-2013 at 02:47 PM.