2013 U.S. Open: James Blake to retire after tournament

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“Obviously, the U.S. Open was a special place for him. I understand how he would want to end here. You know, I think he still has a lot of great tennis in him, but he’s decided that now is the time for him,” said Venus Williams, the 2000-01 U.S. Open champion. “He has a family now, so those are important priorities, from what I hear. He’s ready, so all we can do is support him.”

Blake’s announcement came a year after Roddick, his friend and former Davis Cup teammate, decided to make the U.S. Open the final tournament of his career.

“I know Andy’s decision last year was a little different. … We got along great, but he was a little more impetuous at times, and I’m definitely a little more thought-out and it takes me a little longer,” Blake said. “It took me a while to come to this decision, so I’m really happy with it and comfortable with it.”

He talked about having come close to being forced to end his playing days nearly a decade ago because of two health scares. In May 2004, during a practice session for a tournament in Rome, Blake slipped on the clay court and slammed into a net post, breaking vertebrae in his neck. In August of that year, he got an illness that affected his sight and temporarily paralyzed part of his face.

In between, his father died from stomach cancer; Blake wound up raising millions of dollars for cancer research.

Asked what his plans are for now, Blake said he wants to work on his golf game — and change his 1-year-old’s diapers. Looking “way down the road,” as he put it, he would like to be the U.S. Davis Cup captain, and perhaps work as a television commentator.

At this very moment, though, he would like to win a match or two at his final tournament.

“I don’t want to be dragged out of this game. I don’t want someone telling me I need to leave,” Blake said. “I want to leave on my own terms. I’m happy doing that right now.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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