With the U.S. Open right around the corner, James Blake is looking to get his game back.
The 30-year-old American star has struggled in 2010, battling a right knee injury and falling to #108 in the ATP rankings.
Blake is hoping to get back on track at the Pilot Pen Tournament, accepting a wild card spot in the US Open Series event held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale between Aug. 20-28.
Off the court though, Blake has recently collaborated with Fila on a new men’s tennis apparel collection called Thomas Reynolds by Fila. Blake is the only male tennis player to have a signature clothing line that he also designs.
The fan favorite and leader of the “J-Block” talked to BET.com about his clothing line and his career going forward.
MV: Was your first round loss at the Legg Mason due more to rust or your injuries?
JB: I want to give credit to Ryan because he played well. I did not play the way I needed to on big points and I had a lot of break chances that I did not take advantage of. I think that came from not playing many matches, I did not the right things you need to do on important points. I am hopeful that just playing a few more matches – as many as I can this summer will make a difference once I get back into that rhythm and go to the habit of winning.
MV: How much longer do you see yourself playing considering your recent struggles this year?
JB: I don’t know. I think those things can turn around pretty quickly…they did in ’05 when I was struggling for a while and turned it around. In everyone’s career they struggle for a little while at some point and I feel like in my career I’ve been able to bounce back from that a few times and hopefully this will be no different and I will have the chance to bounce back. And if I don’t, I am fortunate enough to know that there are other things in my life that I am able to do – but right now in my life, I want to play tennis.
MV: Health wise, how are you feeling at the moment?
JB: Health wise, I feel good, my knee is feeling much better so, I am excited to be healthy again. I am excited to get back to playing great tennis.
MV: What inspired you to name your clothing line after your father?
JB: He really inspired me and he is the one who made me the person I am today and I wanted to do something that was a tribute to him more so than a tribute to my tennis career because I don’t believe there would be a tennis career without him leading the way.
MV: What makes your Fila clothing line stand out from other brands?
JB: One of the biggest things is that it is made by a player. I have worn a lot of different clothes and tennis gear for the last 10 years of my professional life and when you go through that you know what works and what does not work and what you think helps you the most on the court and what you think could be a problem. To be able to have the influence and have a say in the designing makes a big difference it makes it so it’s going to turn out better for the player, I think. It really is as comfortable as can be on the court and will hopefully be helpful for other players.