Take a look at these beautiful highlights..Vintage Blake.

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Dgpsx7, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. Dgpsx7

    Dgpsx7 Professional

    May 1, 2009
  2. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

    Oct 17, 2007
    VA Beach
    Blake always seemed to bring his best out against Rafa. Even past his prime Blake could still push Rafa to 3 sets in late 09. I think their TMC 06 match was even better, great shotmaking from both guys.

  3. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

    Dec 30, 2008
    Blake, at his best, was one of the most exciting players around.
    He was such a risk-taker with generally a very small margin for error - when it came off it was something to behold.
  4. AM95

    AM95 Hall of Fame

    Nov 16, 2009
    great player. shame that injuries took the latter half of his career.
  5. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2007
    To this day, no one has been able to tell me why his backhand is not one of the best in the world. Bizarre. It looks exactly like Petr Korda's.
  6. j00dypoo

    j00dypoo Rookie

    Dec 22, 2010
    yeah too bad he was unlucky with injuries and such. he was such great fun to watch.
  7. purge

    purge Hall of Fame

    Sep 22, 2011
    blake and haas played one of my all time fav matches a few years back at the USO. such entertaining players they both were.. too bad they were injured more often than not
  8. ClairHarmony

    ClairHarmony Rookie

    May 24, 2010
    Only thing is, I don't really think it's so much unluck as almost a certain high probability.

    Tennis is a sport with no off-season. Even on clay, it's not like they're shuffling those feet constantly in bobo baths. No, they're constantly skathiiing them against hard earth no matter how you cover it, for 11 out of 12 months a year. And even in that ONE single precious one FREAKIN' (r' u kiddin' me, the players' are screaming right now...as they have *forever*) month off...what are they likely doing? That's right, instead of allowing their mind to rejuvinate, their thoughts are already drifting to, oh, ma gosh...Australian Open right around the corner, put down the gummy bears and beef jerky, my man...but no, I don't want to!!! But they must. And pick up the carrot and celery sticks instead....as tears roll down their cheek.

    It's a tough life for them, and that's why tennis pros have about the shortest life span of all athletes outside of gymnasts and figure skaters where their bodies must remain at a pixie size unsustainable past a certain age, to remain competitive.

    What sport requires it's stars to travel WORLD wide, not state side? What sport requires them to do so with entourages, but basically alone...they're "peers" are their fiercest foes, there are no teammates, everyone's lookin' to get an edge out to nowhere, unto themselves. They are bitter rock pillars unto themselves, as a survival mechanism. It's no wonder they burnout in no time, and regularly become bitter as can be, or never so much as TOUCH a racket for the next few years following retirement. I mean when tennis pros burnout, they REALLY burn out.

    Does a pro ball player never pick up a ball again for a few years? And yet, it seems like more than half the seniors roster did just that upon retiring. It's almost absurdly common.

    It's like tennis induces a GAG reflex in them...love it, but ahhh...! It's a very A Clockwork Orange-ish response that gets engrained in them.

    When you consider how they are forced to travel year round, combined with the *inhumane* levels of mental burnout? It's no wonder tennis pros go down in flames so relatively soon.

    Tennis is actually one of the DEEPEST sports in the world. People always say, oh, if only tennis got better athletes like the BIG sports. Well, tennis is still one of the top 3-4 sports in the world, and almost always has been. It's been around a long time, and though rarely the MOST played...it's still pretty much available EVERYWHERE in the world, and that's why there've been soooo many top players from soooo many parts of the world. It gets PLENTY of competition for its top spots, and PLENTY of top tier talent.

    The thing with tennis though is that its top players are like a *revolving door*. It's like a sick ward in a hospital, or a roster for a WWE event. Basically, the "top stars" of the promotion change every few months to a year, based on whose actually *healthy* enough to compete at any given time. Just like pro wrestlers, a certain high percentage, a certain sizeable chunk, of the elite "talent" in the sport will be out regularly with injuries and/or burnout *regularly*.

    It's shocking just how many guys there've been, who you can imagine, if EVERYTHING fell into place just right, and their heads and bodies were firing at top gear, they had #1 in the world level capabilities. Well, at least, for a *little while.*

    But the thing with tennis is that it requires soooo much out of you mentally. You have to be ALL there, or not there at all, to compete. There's NO in between. If the other guy wants it more than you, they WILL edge you out regularly. There's no fakin' it, no hiding in this sport. It's a MAXIMUM INTENSITY sport from the mental side, yet because you don't get black eyes and stuff, you're expected to go out there on a DAILY BASIS until basically you're reduced to sea salt blowing in the breeze...good-bye 29 year old you, and hello 19 year old reincarnation of you from some country you never heard of before.

    To me, it's amzing that we get to see our favoriate players for as long as we do. Given that they're basically reduced to traveling circus acts, it's a wonder that they're bodies don't break down sooner. Face it, tennis is an *injury-riddled* sport. It's NOT just Blake.

    It's actually the MAJORITY of its upper tier talent, who ever generation, ends up being failed by their bodies. The list is looooong. And this is why Wilander is always quick to point out just how *fortunate* you need to be with your body, to become a legend in this sport. As he says, if you're not LUCKY in this regard, you've got NO chance to make a lsting mark. ALL the "legends," have for the most part been able to stay *relatively* injury free.

    Look at every generation, and you'll be astounded by how many forgotten names there've been who "on their day," at their best, and firing on all cylinders could more or less matchup with the "legends." Tennis is a very unforgiving sport. At even a small percentage point below your best...you *drop like a rock.* There's NO in between in this sport.

    You can't *selectively dog it out there* as you can in baseball or basketball, and then just quickly decided to turn it on for a little bit of a hero burst with five seconds left and take home all the glory like you can in those sports. It's a sport where only one breath, one break per set on average, determines the outcome. It's the only sport outside fighting, where you can win more points, and regularly still lose. It's a constant BIG point sport, and laxing off for even one second early in a set...and that *on average* will be all she wrote.

    The difference between a player at the top of the ranks, and when in the dumps is that *one break per set* "swing" that occurs between a mentally/physically fresh player...and one who is not. That's it. You're either one-step there, and you win those swing points....or you're one step late on, and lose those swing points. That's the ONLY difference between winning and losing regularly at this level. It's a game of percentages, and for the most part all of the men serve well enough...that they'll still win the majority of points on their serve even if half-blind folded. The issue is rarely not beng able to put up games anymore, but rather coming up a little short, or a little ahead on those swing points.

    When you see a former top player REALLY off their rocker toward the end...THEN, you might start seeing really lopsided scores with some regularity. BUT, it's very rarely the case that they're can't still put up "competitive" scores anymore, but rather that something eventually, finally just snaps inside, and then they start getting testy-pouty, and more or less regularly begin going on these "attention-strikes."

    Like little babies in the crib, they'll start THROWING points and games in the face of fans and reporters in a last desperate attempt for some lovin'. It's a *natural* human response. Basically, you feel like the bigger scene you make out of throwing games away, the more sympathy, lovin' you'll get. It's a desparate *cry* for SPIIRITUAL SUPPORT you seek from the audience....but instead, they turn on you. And everyone thinks, gee, what's gotten into him? What a *disgraceful* way to compete there, Blakey, my boy...see Blake's attitude toward the end of his Djokovic match earlier this year. I've seen this look even from CHANG of all people toward the end.

    They get soooo frustrated that they're no longer winning those infuriating swing points no more, that eventually they're bound to just SNAP...and so then they just almost seem to start hitting every ball out on purpose, as if on a "I hunger for your love...*please* don't give up on me just yet" strike.

    Again, very normal, even predictable, behavior. Go look back on virtually ANY of the top players towards the end, and you'll see them going down in this sad, sad, state. And near the end, you'll find that even at their worst; they'll put it together for one day, and show that they're not THAT far off from the best, even still....but the problem is, that in tennis? The difference between being competitive, and regularly coming up on on top on those swing points, is NIGHT AND DAY. It seems like a subtle difference, when in reality; it's the difference between a hammer and a nail.

    Eventually, the nail just goes away...the former top pro retires feeling like a nail in the coffin...really, without much to say...talk to my sexy publicist, if I can still afford her/them..."Gooodbye, cruel world...no, I really mean it this time, hello, hello, mayday, anybody here? Anybody? I really, really, I think I might actually mean it this...time...well, HMMPH! Well, then F-you!!! I've still got my dignity...anyone? No, really...anyone?" :confused:

    And, then, they just die. Then, resurface playing either a) pro soccer (like ma boy, Sergi Brguera!), b) pro singer/dancing dread locks extrordinaire (like Mr. Bulging Cocaine eyes to get an unfair advantage, Yannick Noah), c) pro poker player (this seems like a favorite past time, for former top players who did not lose it all already), and d) fat golfer, eating ding dongs, and twinkies in between rounds with Charles Barklely. When done, throw the wrapper on the greens, because you're still the man, some caddy will likely pick it up for you. Ah, life is sweet, short, but still good. I have so much lovin' left to give this world, the sky she is perfect and blue. I feel as though nature loves me, and I love golf. I still drive a Benz, though no longer a Ferrari; life is good.
  9. tennisfreak

    tennisfreak Semi-Pro

    Aug 1, 2004
    Blake and Federer both hit one handed backhands, but I wonder why Nadal couldn't overpower Blakes backhand like he could Fed's backhand.

    Does this mean Blake has a more reliable backhand the Fed?
  10. purge

    purge Hall of Fame

    Sep 22, 2011
    i think it means they played on hard court rather than clay
  11. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

    Feb 22, 2004
    Syd, Oz
    Good work! Great reading thank you! ... bobo baths???
  12. 813wilson

    813wilson Rookie

    Jun 15, 2009
    Tampa area
    Ummm. Clair?

    Are you the second coming of David Foster Wallace? I didn't bother to read your entire post, but the 1st line caught my eye.

    With regard to Blake. I'd agree, knee issues, back, all the nagging things that tour players seem to get might be expected.

    But, and I think this where some were going with injuries thing, most tour players dont break their necks and follow that up with a partially paralyzed face.....
  13. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

    Jul 26, 2011
    Great post, ClairHarmony!!!

    Many times I think about Michael Stich and Richard Krajicek, two extremely talented players that could not fullfill their potential because of many injuries.

    When they were on, they were unstoppable. Along with Ivanisevic, they were the players young Pete Sampras feared the most.

    In a sense, it is quite weird that each one of these three extremely talented players won only one GS title (one Wimbledon title each one of them) and Sampras won 14 GS titles (and 5 Masters-Cup).

    At first sight, you don't see that much different in talent between Sampras and these three fantastic players.

    I remember watching the GrandSlam Cup'92 final Stich vs Sampras and the WTF'93 final Stich vs Sampras (again) and thinking that that guy (Stich) was unstoppable (he won 7-6 7-6 2-6 7-6 the first one, and 7-6 2-6 7-6 6-2 the second one).

    Even Sampras back then said that Stich was unbeatable (on those very fast indoor carpet tournaments) when he was serving and playing that great.

    Sampras feared Ivanisevic and Krajicek for similar reasons, he felt that when they were on, he hadn't have the control of the match.

    But neither of these three fantastic players had the physical and mental consistency along the years that Sampras had.

    They had many peak performances, they won at least one GS title during their careers (Stich won one WTF aswell), Stich and Ivanisevic were nº2 players in the world many times (Krajicek was nº4 I believe), but neither had the consistency to fight Pete during all their career.

    As you say, in each generation, along with the really great ones that will be leyends, there were several others with almost as much talent that, for one reason or another, could not fullfill their potential to such a high degree.

    In fact, in the ATP Era (from 1973 on ), only 11 players had finished in the top-3 five or more years, and they are:

    Connors: 5 times nº1, 3 times nº2, 4 times nº3
    Lendl: 4 times nº1, 3 times nº2, 3 times nº3
    Sampras: 6 times nº1, 3 times nº3
    Federer: 5 times nº1, 3 times nº2, 1 time nº3
    McEnroe: 4 times nº1, 2 times nº2, 1 time nº3
    Borg: 2 times nº1, 2 times nº2, 3 times nº3
    Nadal: 2 times nº1, 5 times nº2
    Agassi: 1 time nº1, 3 times nº2, 2 times nº3
    Edberg: 2 times nº1, 2 times nº2, 1 time nº3
    Becker: 3 times nº2, 2 times nº3
    Djokovic: 1 time nº1, 4 times nº3
  14. mental midget

    mental midget Hall of Fame

    Oct 7, 2008
    tennis channel, or meth. not both.
  15. j00dypoo

    j00dypoo Rookie

    Dec 22, 2010
    lol... well clairharmony, that was an entertaining post. But as 813wilson said, blake had some freak accidents that really hurt his career. That's what I was talking about. I thought it was widely known, but guess I assumed when I shouldn't have.


    Broken neck --> father dies ---> debilitating case of shingles
  16. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

    May 10, 2010
    And yet they didn't complain but kept on playing ("You're either injured or you're not" as Stich said to Serena...

    And as for Krajicek's spartan capacity check this vid that I unearthed ··················> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s2crzwWgqg
  17. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

    Dec 9, 2010
    Italy/ Madison WI
    I really liked the way Blake when in good shape used to play. His forehand reminds me a lot of Agassi's forehand.

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