It’s a good news/bad news/Big News day for James Blake fans. Blake’s out of the China Open, but played Rafael Nadal tough, losing 5-7, 7-6(4), 3-6 in what was reportedly “some of the most outstanding and intense tennis thus far in the tournament.”
And in Big News that I had no clue about, ESPN is reporting that Blake stopped working with his long-time (as in 17 years together) coach Brian Barker after the US Open and is now with friend and former-pro Kelly Jones:
“It’s not like we’re ending our relationship,” Blake said by telephone from Beijing. “We’re still good friends, which will never change. Right now we both feel like I need to hear some things from a different voice. Kelly’s been close to both of us for a long time, and he’s a perfect fit for now. If things go well with him, everyone’s happy. Brian wants nothing but the best for me. If they don’t, then I go back to Brian and we know there’s a reason I’m back. It was just time to take a little break and see how it goes with someone else.”
Brian Barker reportedly suggested the coaching change, which Blake resisted, at first:
“I told him that the most important thing in his tennis career is to have a clear head and peace of mind for the rest of your life that you did everything you possibly could to get better, maximize your potential and not leave anything on the table,” Barker said Thursday. “He eventually agreed that was a good idea.”
Kelly Jones was ranked No. 1 in doubles in 1992, was a member of the US Olympic team in ’84, and won two singles titles on the ATP tour. He has coached Mardy Fish and Xavier Malisse. For more on Jones, click here.
All I can say is: FINALLY! I just worry that it’s too little, too late. What do you think?
Click here to read more from ESPN.