James Blake - Top 5 potential?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by JohnThomas1, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    Let us ask the question about him too, what is holding him back? Many seem to claim his backhand isn't quite up to par. Any idea's? Is he really that talented?
  2. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    He doesn't have the mental toughness and focus to be a top 10 player.
  3. Chanchai

    Chanchai Semi-Pro

    Apr 28, 2004
    I don't think his backhand is really that bad, but it's probably the biggest indicator of whether or not he's hot or cold. And that's the problem with Blake for me, he's a player with a lot of hot and cold streaks.

    And I would say a lot of it has to do with the mental aspect and how he handles it. How quick he can get discouraged when he is still in a winning position or in the right place for a comeback, etc...

    The guy has got a lot of speed when forced to run, decent volleys, a big forehand, a pretty big serve, and a backhand that can roll opponents over when he's having a hot day.

    However, I just don't see the guy in the Top 5 nowadays unless, like this year, it's during a year when a lot of the highest talents (that have risen to the occasion already) are injured or dealing with something unforeseen. And he's definitely not getting in the top 5 this year.

    I do think he has a lot of talent that should easily enable him to stay in the Top 30, and I feel things are right when he's in the Top 20. I can see him being like #9 or #8 for a year or two maybe. But I just don't see him being in the Top 5. Not yet anyways. I'd be happy to see him achieve that though :)

  4. speedofpain88

    speedofpain88 Rookie

    Jul 22, 2004
    I think he really is that talented. The problem with Blake I think is that he doesn't have one shot that can consistenly get him out of trouble. When he played with Roddick twice during the summer last year, he was playing a better overall game, but could not hold his own serve a couple of times and ended up losing in tie-breaks. He needs to be more consistent. I have seen him mentally self-destruct a couple of times too, so just more mental toughness could be what he needs to really break into the top 5.

    I really like watching him play and I hope he gets back in form as quickly as possible.
  5. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    I like his forehand, a LOT.
  6. yee

    yee Rookie

    Feb 25, 2004
    Agreed on this being one of the main factor.

    The way he shanked those balls when matches got tight was terrible to watch.
  7. jings

    jings Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    Would agree with the "bottle" theme above, and think it manifests most clearly on serve whenever I've watched him. He'll play the mother of all games to break serve and then come out and invariably lose to 15 on his. Infuriating as again as Paradorn, he is a genuine classy striker of the ball. Echoes of Henman in there I always think.
  8. TennisBoy

    TennisBoy Rookie

    Jul 8, 2004
    What's wrong with him?

    Always going for winners, not consistent, lack strong mentality, lack focus and consistency, don't have great serve. If u guys had a chance to read a recent article in tennis magazine, apparently he claims that if he has to hit like 10 winners and only 1 out of 10 actually stay on the court, then he's gonna do it. He also said he nkows eveyrone is telling him to get more consistent and work on his footwork but apparently he wants to hit winners and rely on his footspeed instead.
  9. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

    Feb 22, 2004
    This may be a moot discussion if he doesn't get completely healed from that freak netcord collision. How long has it been since he's played, anyway?
  10. Fee

    Fee Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    In front of my computer, obviously
    James has apparently healed from the netpost collision. He showed up at Newport, Rhode Island ready to play (despite the fact that his father had just died after a year long battle with cancer). From what I've been told, he was playing pretty well until he injured his arm during a match, probably from not playing for a while. He has pulled out of Toronto this week, but should be okay for Cincy (fingers crossed).

    I think the rest of the season may be a bit of a wash for James. He's had a tough year with his father, his own health problems, and a few other distractions. I think he is going to do some real work in the offseason, get into great shape, and have a really good season next year. Top 5, probably not, but I can definitely see him in the Top 20.
  11. VictorS.

    VictorS. Professional

    Jun 1, 2004
    I think Blake could definitely be a top 10 player if he works his butt off. But IMO he doesn't have the big game or talent of the Roddicks, Safins, and Federers.
  12. wcr

    wcr New User

    Jul 21, 2004
    Blake reminds me of Ginepri. I have the impression that both of them have a mirror strapped to their shoulder and every 2 or 3 points they check their look in it. Way too self conscious.
  13. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

    May 3, 2004
    He just doesn't have "it."

    "It" is the Y factor that some players have and others don't.

    It's pretty easy to discover which ones have it, as they demonstrate it early on: Hewitt, Federer, Safin, Roddick, Ferrero, in most recent years.

    I think Nadal has it as well.

    James doesn't have it. And I don't think he'll ever get it.
  14. david aames

    david aames Professional

    Feb 20, 2004
    Blake grew up with a back brace. Can't think of anyone else on the tour who has to put up with a scoliosis. It's quite an achievement and that speaks for his mental if you ask me...
  15. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    He is not the best at anything IMO. Everything is very good, but just not good enough to stay in the top five consistently. I can probably name five players for each aspect of his game that are better at that area than he is.
  16. Max G.

    Max G. Legend

    Feb 18, 2004
    I think his game just isn't good enough for top 10 - mentally and otherwise. He has a very good forehand, and he's quick so he can use it a lot - but it misfires at times, it can be streaky. His backhand is mediocre, his volleys pretty good but not awesome, his serve mediocre. Mental game not the strongest either. His forehand is really good, but not good enough to get him a top 10 spot by itself - it's too streaky.
  17. hippoti8

    hippoti8 New User

    Aug 4, 2004
    Yeah, bottom line is that he's just not going to dominate. I want him to be good and I really want an American to climb up the ranks with Roddick, similar to how Agassi and Samprass did it. I just don't think Blake is the guy, though. I saw him play doubles once with his brother in Washington, DC. His brother is pretty darn tall. I guess Blake is too, but I don't think as tall as his brother. He just needs to really work on his game if he's going to try to break into the top 5.

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