Wimbledon First-Round Loser James Blake Says Bad Knee Threatens Career

James Blake lost his opening match at Wimbledon in straight sets and said he may reassess his tennis career after the U.S. Open.

Blake, 30, a former All-American at Harvard University, lost 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 today to Robin Haase of the Netherlands. It was the American’s second match since taking 10 weeks off because of knee tendinitis.

“The knee is not great,” Blake, who was ranked No. 4 in the ATP World Tour rankings in 2006 and is now No. 109, said in a news conference after the match. “If it doesn’t get better soon, I’m not sure how much longer I want to play in pain. I’m doing my best. We’re doing everything we can. It’s just getting pretty frustrating.”

If the pain in his knee continues, Blake said he’ll “reassess” his playing status after the U.S. Open that starts Aug. 30 in New York.

“If I need to, after the Open, take the rest of the year off and then see if I can start fresh in 2011,” Blake said. “‘I don’t know. It’s a bit of an unknown. A lot of people think the unknown is fun. Some people think it’s scary. I think it’s a little bit of both. I think it’s an opportunity. If my life is going to change after the Open, then I’ll have to be anxious and see what comes next.”

The knee tendinitis had been getting “worse and worse over the last year and a half,” the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Open quarterfinalist said in an interview last week at a grass-court event in Eastbourne, England.

“I knew it was time I needed to take a break,” he said in Eastbourne. “If I was trying to play at 80, 85 percent I wasn’t going to be successful, so I needed time off and had to rest and rehab and do a bunch of strengthening around it, healing everything else around it.”

To contact the reporter for this story: Danielle Rossingh at Wimbledon through the London newsroom at drossingh@bloomberg.net

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