Retired: James Blake

Broke Back

The popular American had his share of good and bad luck throughout his career. He was first diagnosed with severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine) at the age of 13 and had to wear a back brace 18 hours a day. After an average early career by 2004, he slipped during a practice session in Rome, hitting the net post and fracturing vertebrae in his neck which kept him off the court for three months.

He then fell ill with Zoster, a condition affecting his hearing and visionary senses and causing temporary paralysis on one side of his face, prematurely ending his season. But despite all of this trauma, he came back with increased verve and reached number 4 in the world and amassed 10 titles. Pretty amazing stuff.

In July 2007, released “Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life” (co-authored by Andrew Friedman) that reached No. 15 on New York Times Best Seller list. Since 2003, holds annual charity event that’s raised more than $3 million for cancer research.


Reason to retire: Age
Career titles: 10
Win/Loss Record: 366/255 
Career High Ranking: 4 (2006)
Finest moment: Epic US Open quarter-final in 2005 against Agassi (lost in 5th set tie-break)
Famous For: Breaking his neck in training and making a full recovery.
What Next?:  “I don’t have any specific plans. I’d like to see if there is something outside of tennis to do. Something still inside tennis way down the road I would obviously love to be back in tennis as the Davis Cup captain.”

Watch: Tribute to James Blake

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