Thrill and Kill.

Blake

I feared that this might be humiliating, and no one wanted humiliation. At least I didn’t. Not for one of my favourites in men’s tennis that predates even Roger Federer.

It’s a bizarre affinity – James Blake doesn’t have much subtlety to his game, suicide tennis is often confused with aggressive shot-making, the concept of having a Plan B is non-existent to his game. Actually, at times, I’m not sure that he even has a Plan A.

Speed? I’ve seen faster. Forehand? There’s Federer (there’s always Federer). And hell, I didn’t even like Fed back in day.

But once in a while, you see a player on court who plays tennis like he fucking means it AND doesn’t give a damn AT THE SAME TIME.

How else can you explain it?

Shortcomings aside, Blake will persistently bang away Kamikaze-styled, until he either wins or self-destructs. And of course, there’s the story of his amazing comeback from injury, the surprising intelligence and thoughtfulness in someone who should’ve fallen into the “jock” category. As far as “representing American tennis” goes, this guy has done a pretty good job.

But really, I can’t quite put my finger on it – I just like the guy. He’s ‘thrill and kill’, he’s ‘do or die’ and I’ll be damned if there isn’t something sickly entertaining in that.

The question for me these days is whether he has overachieved in his career or underachieved. At one stage, Nadal could not withstand his flat, zinging groundstrokes. At one stage, he had Roger Federer on the ropes in the Indian Wells 2006 final before Federer began to neutralise the blows. At one stage, it looked like he could walked away from his career with an Olympic medal.

In this sense, James Blake is a perennial underachiever for someone with his weapons. Yet his weapons come with their foibles, as I listed at the start. You saw them on full display in the second set tiebreak against Djokovic today (Blake lost 61 76 63): easy opportunities dunked into the net, double faulting when he couldn’t afford even a second serve – it’s mental, it’s strategic, execution. It’s the whole fucking lot. As always, you walk away from a Blake match thinking “if only he had …”

But that’s the story of his career, isn’t it?

And where to now?


JAMES BLAKE: I don’t know. I’m going to take a little break. I need the body to completely heal up. I felt better than I have in a while the last couple matches. I know I still need to feel really 100% and ready to go after this to move forward to feel like I’m really playing well again. So I’m going to take a little break. Probably start in Stockholm. I think that’s in about six weeks.

I really hope that wasn’t my last match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. I definitely want to be back here next year. If it was, you know, I competed my heart out. I did everything I could. But I think I got more in me and I think I’m going to be back there. Maybe more night matches, some more excitement for the crowds, some more good times.

You know, I definitely believe that. I hope it comes true next year.

It sounds a little desperate. Reading it made me sad – I hadn’t realised it was time to say goodbye. Yes he fell down the rankings, but Blake’s been injured. Watching him today, he didn’t look slower, he didn’t look like he had lost the forehand, the serve, the footwork that made him into the player he once was. He just looked like a player lacking matches, put under the spotlight against one of the top seeds.

I hope he’ll be back for another hurrah. I don’t see a twilight run of a major title in him. (But then again, I didn’t see Ljubicic winning Indian Wells either, so what do I know?) Nonetheless, the corny part of me wants him to ride off into a proper sunset, not silently into a dark, rainy night with no one to applaud.

And there is so much strength, talent and perseverance to applaud there.

So US Open 2011. It’s a date, y/y?

xx doots

roger

PS. Roger won. No dramas. No complications. The wind be damned.

I spend half my time freaking out because I worry that he won’t win easily, but when he does, I’m worried that he won too easily and will thus walk into a fourth round or quarterfinal slugfest without the requisite match toughness. AM I BEING A RETARD?

PPS. I’m trying to write about the non-Federers while I still can. (Read: while Roger’s doing this drama-less thing). It’s all part of Dootsie’s Principle of Blogging Equity. I won’t succeed in upholding it, but I have to at least try. AND YET, trying is hard when McSmokin keeps combusting my ovaries. Have you read this? CLICKEY!!!

PPPS. Lordy have you seen Mirka’s bangs?

PPPPS. And her BAG?

(… okay, I was *that* girl in high school, I think we all have *that* girl in us. Even if you don’t have a vagina.)

SHUTUPDOOTSYOUREEMBARRASSINGYOURSELF.

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14 responses to “Thrill and Kill.”

  1. Matt Zemek says :

    Fed. Soderling. It’s gonna happen. Nervous already. Damn Haider-Maurer in the first round, and damn US Open for giving two days off between first and second-round matches so Soderling could physically recover.

    Damn Dent for going out meekly to Sod in round two. Damn Cilic for losing to Sod in Roland Garros in the fourth round, and then not being able to take down Sod this year the way he took out Murray in last year’s Open.

    Damn. That’s the theme.

    As for the women, I apologize – as an American – for CBS TV’s decision to put Clijsters and Ivanovic on court at oh-dark-hundred Australia time and midday Europe time, when the rest of the world will have a harder time checking in.

    • dootsiez says :

      Doots’ mantra post-Roland Garros 09: ONE. MATCH. AT. A. TIME. JURGEN MELZER AIN’T GONNA ROLL OVER AND DIE ON HIS OWN.

      As for Sod, I want Fed to beat him. It would be the ultimate fuck yeah of all time.

      Although if Fed loses again, it would be the saltiest salt on the raw aching wounds of my heart.

  2. Mia says :

    How many Birkins does Mirka have? I swear I’ve probably seen her with every color there is. That stash is fortune in itself!

    • dootsiez says :

      Not to mention a 2year waiting list for us mere mortals. Roger loves his wife. What can I say? (Except where can I get one? The guy or the bag.)

  3. bwlass says :

    This site is becoming a must read. I love it!!!!

  4. breadstix says :

    Ohh James Blake… I don’t LOVELOVELOVE him, but I like the guy enough to want him to have a decent run and make a mark somewhere. Seems like a nice guy. I mean, not even that much of a headcase or anything.

    Oh oh, and Fed’s having an alright USO so far, isn’t he? I hope that wouldn’t change once I start watching the tennis again.:/
    (And RE: Mirka, as iffff I’m not jealous enough of her as it is!)

  5. jfK says :

    I like Mirka’s bangs.
    Stop worrying about Sod now, one match at a time everyone! and deep breaths too!

  6. BS says :

    I LOVE Mirka’s hair. To me it looks as if she’s gone slightly darker aswell. As for Blake, he was always a good player. I remember seeing him at Wimbledon in 2008 when he lost to Schuettler and he is a very good ballstriker and a nice player to watch. He’s been unlucky with injuries and as we know, it’s really hard to come back from injury. I thought he played far better than the scoreline suggested, but the one or two points that he doesn’t win makes all the difference. That’s what happened in Beijing against Gonzalez, it happened against Del Potro at the AO and probably other times aswell that I can’t remember. I hope he doesn’t hang up his racket too soon, because he’s not finished yet.

    Roger has been playing well. I’m glad. Can’t take anything like RG 09 ever again. As for Sod, I have faith in Roger, because he has been reversing his fortunes the past couple of weeks: Berdych, Baghdatis, Davydenko, Fish and Djokovic. Now it’s Sod’s turn. I love revenge wins and this would be the sweetest of them all.🙂

  7. gamegrrle says :

    Doots,

    Reading your blog is always enjoyable because your love for tennis (and especially TMF) is so passionate and unyielding, and your tennis knowledge is both legitimate and insightful…but most importantly…

    You are one damn funny girl. Period.

    I can read many tennis blogs, and I do, but you stand alone in combining your astute tennis observations with an irreverent, often times, naughty humor that is such a joy for share in. I’ve often thought that you should write for a sports site or paper, but then I remember you’re studying to be a lawyer…or is that barrister in Aussie speak? So, although the rest of the world may be robbed of a savvy, witty sportswriter, we get to have our fix of Dootsie right here!!🙂

    Thanks for doing such a great job, and trust me, I’m sure no one here cares about your adherence to Dootsie’s Principles of Blogging Equity…so why even pretend!😉

    P.S. I like the bangs…it’s the hair color and highlights I can do without.

    P.P.S. (I’m taking my cue from you)

    Although, I don’t profess to be a good writer and certainly not as deliciously wicked as you, Doots…your link to the ESPN article made me think that maybe I would pimp my own work a little bit. I just got published over at Bleacher Report.com

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/448908-us-open-2010-questions-that-need-to-be-answered-before-we-see-a-fedal-final

    and while it’s certainly not my best work, and I certainly wasn’t trying to be funny (I was incredibly rushed to get it out before the start of the open), I’ve just been told that it’s been accepted for syndication and that other news media sites may request it to re-post on their sites. I’ve been asked to submit additional articles so you may see some more of my work in the future!🙂

    As for you my dear…I look forward to every posting you put up!

  8. marcoiac says :

    i like blake a lot too. his timing, his fearlessness, his personal story, how can you not like the guy? will he make a final run? i don’t know, and i don’t really care. to me, he’s one of those guys that makes the game so beautiful to watch. i just hope he’s gonna hang around a little more

  9. pban says :

    Like you doots I frazzle even more if he has it easy, right now Melzer is looking more and more like an ogre .Plus it is the 4th round….Roger generally has a brainfart at this time of the slam,would have felt safer much safer with Ferrero.

  10. flo says :

    I appreciate Mirka’s role in her husbands career but say no to: “Roger would be nothing without Mirka.”

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