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Peers Pay Tribute To James Blake

New York, U.S.A.

Blake© ATPJames Blake receives a warm welcome from Juan Martin del Potro, Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Andy Murray following his final singles match.

Fellow pros paid tribute to James Blake as he officially stepped into retirement Thursday, following his first-round doubles loss with Jack Sock at the US Open. The former World No. 4 played his final singles match on Wednesday night against Ivo Karlovic.

Roger Federer: “I really have enjoyed playing against James… I've had some good matches against him. Maybe the biggest matches of his career, except maybe the match he played here against Agassi. Cincinnati, Shanghai. I've had some big matches against him, also the Olympics where he beat me. We go way back. We always used to practise a lot together, have good times on tour. So I'll miss him, but he's probably going to stay around tennis some. That's good to hear.”

Rafael Nadal: ”James was one of the more charismatic players on tour. His style of game was spectacular a lot of days.  He was able to play winners on the return with great first serves, and his forehand was one of the best on tour.  Without [a] doubt, he was able to hit very hard.  His image was great. He's a good example for the kids and a good example for the tour. He's a really good person.”

Sam Querrey: “He was in Chicago around Christmastime, and I remember he invited me there for five days to practise with him, which as a 17 year old I thought it was one of the coolest thing I have ever done to go there and practise with him and hang out for four or five days. There has been numerous times where he's taken us - me, other younger guys - out to dinner, invited us to practice, hop rides on planes with him, gone to dinner with him… Bummed to see James leave, but very happy for him. Hopefully he'll pop up from time to time in the tournaments.”

John Isner: “We lived in Tampa for the longest time together, and before I moved in near him I was eating dinner at his house four nights a week. We have been really close. Ever since I got on tour he's been a very great influence on me... I have trained with him and I have seen how hard he's worked. I have just become really close with him, and I will continue to be very close with him. Everybody says he's a great guy and a class act. That's 100 per cent true. There's not a classier guy, in my opinion, than James Blake.”

Jack Sock: “I feel like I've gotten closer to him this year.  Being up two sets to love, knowing how much he wanted to win, do well in this tournament, I'm sure is so hard on him. Kind of hard to watch at the end getting a little emotional. But he's a great friend. I was fortunate enough to play again with him today in the doubles and I wish him the best.”

Ryan Harrison: “James has been a good friend in the locker room to everybody. Whenever you ask anyone about James, he's left a great impression and just a great impact on everybody that he's known in the game. His career is one thing.  He obviously has his results.  I think something far more important that he's leaving behind is the fact he left a really positive impact on tennis and the people he was around, which is what you are ultimately looking forward to doing after having a long, successful career like he's had. He's one of the greatest guys out here on tour.”

Tribute Tweets

@andy_murray (Andy Murray)
Saw james blake in locker room after his last singles match... He's a really good person.. Polite, happy, cool and very smart. Will be missed for sure, hope he enjoys his retirement!

@andyroddick (Andy Roddick)
Thank you James for being a great teammate and friend all these years!

@yvesallegro (Yves Allegro)
bye bye and thank you James Blake!

@paul_annacone (Paul Annacone)
Congrats to James Blake- next chapter will be terrific, terrific player , better person-- well done JB--- will miss your flare on the courts

@BjorkmanTennis (Jonas Bjorkman)
James Blake's career comes to an end after his tough loss last night. Wish you all the best. #greatchampion #greatambassador #greatfriend

@PatrickMcEnroe (Patrick McEnroe)
James Blake
All Class

@MRusselltennis (Michael Russell)
Congrats to #JamesBlake on an amazing career! A true professional & gentleman on & off the court.Success will always follow you!#usopen2013 

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