The end of James Blake’s singles career came after midnight at the U.S Open.
And, like so many other memorable late-night matches at the tennis center, this one was filled with emotion.
“Thanks for staying, for everyone,” a tearful Blake told the crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium after Ivo Karlovic had taken the match in a fifth-set tiebreaker. “I can look at the clock. It’s after midnight, and I still got a lot of people here supporting me. It’s hitting me now that I’m never going to have this again in my life, and I need to appreciate every single one of you for being here.”
Karlovic won 6-7 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), with the winner coming on a call that Blake challenged unsuccessfully.
As he grew increasingly emotional, he turned to his family and friends and said: “I love you guys for being part of my life and part of my career.”
Blake had announced Monday that, at 33, he was done with tennis, explaining: “I did the best I could in every situation, and I know probably anyone in here that’s covered me before has heard me probably annoyingly give the answer often that my goals, when I was playing tennis, instead of rankings-based, were, one, to keep getting better and try and improve every day, and, two, when I’m done playing, put my rackets down and be content with what I did and happy that I did everything the right way.”
Blake will play on a bit longer. He and Jack Sock will play Fernadno Peya and Bruno Soares in doubles.