James Blake is the latest tennis star to criticize the intense ATP schedule. Read the rest of the story and see photos and video of James Blake below.
After losing 6-4, 6-3 in the semi-final of the Paris Masters, American tennis star James Blake stated that the ATP schedule is too long and intense for players to compete at their best and stay healthy. Blake said:
“In this tournament, you see the top two players in the world getting injured – it couldn’t be a clearer signal that the year is too long. There’s too many mandatory events, too many times that we have to be playing,’ said the 28-year-old. ‘Look at baseball players, football players, basketball players, they have a real off-season. That’s why they’re playing into their 40s and we’re retiring at 30. It’s just tough on our body. When the top two players can’t make it through a season at 22 and 27 years old – the peak of their health – it’s saying something about the season.”
He spoke of both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the world’s #1 and #2 players, respectively, pulling out of the tournament due to injury. Nadal retired after losing the first set, citing knee pain as his reason. Federer withdrew due to a sore back.
Blake isn’t the first player to criticize the intense ATP schedule, which is only set to get harder for the 2009 season. The 2008 season started on New Years Eve 2007 and runs through the Tennis Masters Cup, which begins on Nov. 9. Just a few days ago, tennis star Marat Safin also talked about the jam packed schedule as he contemplated possible retirement.
Blake, who has been playing professionally since 1999, is currently ranked #11 in the world, and is the #2 American behind Andy Roddick.
More photos and a video of James Blake are below.
James Blake on Jimmy Kimmel Video