Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is it time to start a James Blake countdown?

I had such high hopes for James Blake this year.

I mean, not top-10 or top-30 type hopes, but perhaps top-50-and-staying-there-type hopes.

Now, I'm not so sure, and I wonder if this is really the beginning of the end.

His season got off to such an odd start with the last-minute decision not to play in Australia due to injury rehab. He made his season debut in Memphis and got thumped by Ryan Sweeting, which isn't a good sign.

Now, he lost his opening-round match to his personal pigeon, Nikolay Davydenko, after winning the first set. Granted that's not too bad a result, seeing as how Davydenko's been out there playing. But finally losing after going 7-0 against someone has to knock a little bit of the confidence and could start Blake thinking about the big "R": a move two of his peers--Fernando Gonzalez and Ivan Ljubicic--have already started heading toward.

One thing about Blake, though: You can honestly never, ever count the guy out. Even before last year, he was talking about it more, but got himself back solidly in the top 100 after two Challenger wins.

If the body doesn't cooperate anymore it might be time. Here's hoping if he decides to go out, he's doing it on his terms.

(Photo: The Associated Press)

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