The 32-year-old Blake, who played for many years on the pro circuit, including competing in the numerous Grand Slam events, made his 12th appearance in the United States Open Singles Tennis Tournament at the Billie Jean King United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, New York on Sunday afternoon.
Blake, who is currently ranked 114th in the world, competed in the same quarter of the draw with third seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain, who has been having a banner year, fifth favorite Jo Wilfried Tsonga of France, and qualifier Bobby Reynolds of Georgia. Highly ranked Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish both from the United States were in the field of 128 men’s singles players who started the tournament.
When the tourney began about two weeks ago, Blake was excited about playing in the U.S. Open. He competed in two previous Grand Slam events this year. He missed the Australian Open due to personal reasons.
“It’s a good feeling to be back here again,” the wild card entry said after his first round match. “I see my fans and friends here (in the venue, the National Tennis Center, in Queens) having a good time. It’s an incredible feeling to be here.”
The fan favorite of New York defeated first round opponent a much younger Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in a rain interrupted afternoon match, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
In the second round, he easily turned back 24th seed Marcel Gravollers of Spain, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
“But there is nothing like a night match,” he went on.
Injuries and various setbacks have hampered Blake’s career, but he has been feeling much better as of late and attempted to make a come back.
“My knee feels better than ever and I’m moving after knee surgery,” he explained. “I want to keep playing and go on with my career (during which time) I had (some) great wins and losses.”
Blake was so excited to return to the U.S. Open and on the circuit and is played healthy.
He was one of a few Americans in the men’s singles field of the Open tournament that drew the top players, with the exception of Rafael Nadal, in an international field.
Wild card entry Blake topped the list of Americans followed by Andy Roddick, John Isner, Mardy Fish, Sam Querry, Ryan Harrison and Don Young. Isner really impressed everyone concerned. After an early round match, Roddick announced his retirement effective at end of the competition.
“Isner has shown great confidence and is the best of the players,” Blake said.
“He plays well and is a guy no one wants to play. After you get to a tie-breaker, maybe you need a little bit of luck against him. He takes big strides in being aggressive. He ensures that he puts pressure on his opponents. And Harrison will get the most out of his career, for he works so hard,” added Blake.
Blake met with 15th seed Milos Raonic of Canada in the third round only to lose in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, 7-6, dropping the third set on a 7-3 tie-breaker.
Still Blake feels that he is back and will continue on the circuit