Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — One year ago, Andy Roddick announced his retirement at the U.S. Open and rode off into the sunset.
Now fellow American James Blake is following suit.
Blake, a 33-year-old Yonkers, N.Y., native, made the announcement in the same interview room at the Open where Roddick shocked reporters and fans a year ago.
“This is my last tournament,” said Blake, who will face Ivo Karlovic in the first round. “I don’t want to be dragged out of this game. I want to leave on my own terms.
“I really didn’t think this would happen,” Blake said, wiping away tears.
Blake was ranked as high as No. 4 in the world in 2006, and reached the quarterfinals here at the Open in 2005 (losing to Andre Agassi) and in ’06 (losing to Roger Federer).
“For me, the biggest highlight and lowlight at the same time was the Agassi match,” Blake said, referring to his years at the Open.
In 2007, Blake teamed with Roddick and the Bryan brothers to win the Davis Cup for the U.S.
“Those weeks (Davis Cup) were some of my best memories,” Blake said.
Blake battled injuries throughout his career, including breaking his neck in 2004 when he slipped on clay and crashed into a net post.
“He’s been one of my closest friends since I started out here,” fellow American Ryan Harrison said, according to USA Today. “He’ll always give you some leadership and advice. He’s behind you when moments get rough. He’s top class. I have so much respect for him and what he’s done over his career.
“It’s sad to see him go but I know he’s extremely excited to move forward with the next part of his life. I wish him nothing but the best for that.”
Blake said he’s looking forward to spending time with his wife, Emily, and his 14-month-old daughter, Riley.
“Despite the tears, I’m actually really happy about this,” he said. “I can do it on my own terms.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.