James Blake suffered a heart-breaking loss to Ivo Karlovic on Wednesday at the U.S. Open to bring an end to his 14-year career. Earlier this week, Blake announced that the U.S. Open would be the final singles tournament of his career, but he could have never imagined that it would end like it did.
Blake was up two sets in the first-round match up with Karlovic, but he ended up dropping the fifth-set tiebreaker in the entertaining match that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours to bring an end to his career — 6-7 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2).
“It’s not ideal,” said Blake, via Sports Illustrated. “Hopefully, this won’t be my lasting memory, up two sets to love, two tiebreakers in the fourth and fifth, losing both of those. Pretty much in my hands at times, and I I felt like I gave them away.”
Blake couldn’t be more gracious after the loss, as he thanked the fans for all of their support throughout his career. He truly appreciated every moment on the court and realizes that his career was something he should never take for granted.
“I’m never [again] going to have 15,000, 10,000, 20,000 people cheering for me, chanting U‑S‑A, screaming my name, that kind of stuff,” Blake said. “I’m lucky enough to have had that for 14 years. I try to look at the positives. Most people never have had that. Most people in the world will never be able to relate to that.”
While Blake will never get to take the court as an individual again, he still gets to finish out the U.S. Open in the doubles bracket with Jack Sock.