James Blake, tennis player born
James Blake was born on this date in 1979. He is a former African American professional tennis player.
James Riley Blake is from Yonkers, New York, His African-American father was Thomas Blake, Sr., and his mother Betty is British. His brother, Thomas Jr., is also a professional tennis player, and he has two older half-brothers, Christopher and Howard.
Blake graduated from Fairfield High School, in Fairfield, CT, in 1997. He attended Harvard University and left after his sophomore year to pursue a career in tennis.
Blake was inspired to pursue tennis after hearing his role model, Arthur Ashe, speak to the Harlem Junior Tennis Program members. Brian Barker was his first (and current) coach. Afflicted with scoliosis for five years as a teenager, he had to wear a full-length back brace for 18 hours a day, though not while playing tennis. Blake was named Rookie of the Year for the 2000 World Team Tennis season. Away from tennis, Blake also enjoys golf, basketball, and baseball.
He first gained the attention of tennis fans worldwide after nearly beating Lleyton Hewitt at the 2001 U.S. Open. That same year, he saw his first Davis Cup action against India and became the third African-American man to play the Davis Cup for the United States. Blake won the 2002 USTA Waikola Challenger in Hawaii. He has also twice won the Hopman Cup (with Serena Williams & Lindsay Davenport).
He and singer/songwriter John Mayer, who is also from Fairfield, are good friends. When Blake was invited by Anthem Insurance to do a cancer charity game honoring his late father, he invited Mayer (along with Andy Roddick and Gavin DeGraw) to perform. Blake enjoys golf and basketball and is a fan of the New York Mets. On November 9, 2012, Blake married Emily Snider, a publicist, in a beach ceremony in California. They have a daughter, Riley Elizabeth, born in June 2012.
BLake, James Riley
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