Former Harvard Tennis Standout James Blake Retires After 14 Year Career

Photos of James Blake at the 1999 NCAA Championships

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Former Harvard men's tennis great James Blake retired from the ATP World Tour after dropping a first-round match in the 2013 U.S. Open.  Blake left Harvard in 1999 after his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional tennis.   

"James has been a great credit to American tennis, and always a thoughtful diplomat in stressful situations," said Dave Fish, the Scott Mead '77 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Tennis, who coached Blake at Harvard. "We at Harvard are proud of the way James has carried himself on the world stage of elite tennis, and wish him the very best as he embarks on a new phase in his life."

The Yonkers, N.Y., native was a decorated athlete on the collegiate level playing for only two seasons at Harvard. In his final year with the Crimson, he was the nation's top-ranked college player. 

Blake, a two-time ITA All-American, earned first team All EITA (singles) honors twice, and was named EITA/Ivy Rookie of the Year and Region I ITA Rookie of the Year (Northeastern) in 1998. He was also named the EITA/Ivy Player of the Year and the ITA National Player of the Year in 1999. He won the ITA Northeast Regional Indoor Championship in singles and doubles in 1998 and the ITA All-America Championship in singles and doubles in 1999. To cap off his collegiate career, Blake was crowned the ITA Rolex National Indoor Champion in 1999.

After 14 years on the ATP World Tour, Blake amassed 10 singles titles and a singles record of 366-256. He was ranked in the top 20 from March 2006 to July 2009 and worked his way into the top ten for 19 consecutive months. He was ranked No. 4, a career high rank, for five weeks in 2006. In 2002, Blake earned his first career title in doubles with Ted Martin in Cincinnati. After returning from a serious neck injury that occurred during a practice in 2004, Blake was named the ATP's comeback Player of the Year. He reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2005 and 2006 and at the 2008 Australian Open. He also was a member of the 2007 Davis Cup team and helped the U.S. to its first Davis Cup title since 1995. 

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