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By Chris Oddo/ Monday, August 26, 2013

 

Before we watch James Blake's final U.S. Open act, let's have a look back at some great moments from the American's career.

Photo Source: Bob Leverone/ Getty

33-year-old James Blake will write the final chapter of his wildly entertaining 14-year professional career at the U.S. Open this year, but before we see how it all concludes, let's flip back through the pages of his novel career and refresh ourselves on the things we may have rushed through without fully appreciating.

Also See: Blake Announces Retirement

1. Blake's classic quarterfinal with Andre Agassi at the 2005 U.S. Open:  "I wasn't the winner, tennis was," said Andre Agassi after winning one of this high quality night session romp. He wasn't kidding. See highlights and dare to disagree.



2. Defeating Roger Federer at the 2008 Olympics: This straight-sets win over Roger Federer in the 2008 Olympic Games was one of the most impressive victories of Blake's career, and notched on one of the biggest stages in all of tennis.



3. Reaching the finals of the 2006 Masters Cup: In 2006 Blake went all the way to the finals of the Masters Cup in Shanghai, defeating Rafael Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko and David Nalbandian before finally falling to Roger Federer in the final.

Here's what he had to say about that experience during an interview after announcing his retirement today: "I felt like if I played my best I could beat anyone in the world, and Roger showed me that wasn't true," said Blake. "That's when I said I don't think there's anyone that's better, because I just played my best tennis and [Federer] treated me like a small child."

Here's an amazing clip of Blake working a rally against Rafael Nadal in his first match in Shanghai that year, because we don't want to post a video of Blake "looking like a child" in the final. Kudos to him for admitting it, and for being so humble, because we know it's not totally true (see No. 2).



4. Winning the 2007 Davis Cup: Blake listed winning the 2007 Davis Cup as the most important moment of his career during his press conference today, saying, "My proudest moment was Portland, without a doubt. Going through everything that we went through with Andy [Roddick], the Bryans and Patrick McEnroe, being a part of that team was such a joy. We had a lot of tough losses, but to come through that and win, and for all of us to play a role... we all played a role in that, and that was something that was so special to me, it was something that was electric."



5. Just being a class act:  Sometimes you can judge a man by his stats, wins and losses and the like, but with Blake the dignity with which he carried with himself on tour, and the warmth and compassion that he treated peers and fans alike, will also be a big part of his legacy.



6. Dignity: (bonus video) If dignity is not your thing, have no fear, Blake was a human highlight reel as well. Just watch the following clip and bask in the glory of Blake's remarkable shotmaking abilities and jaw-dropping power.


 

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