US OPEN 2013
Blake Bows Out After Five-Set Battle
New York, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
“I don’t know when it’s going to hit me,” the former World No. 4 said on court. “I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much tonight.
“Thanks for staying everyone. I can look at the clock, it’s after midnight and I’ve still got a lot of people here supporting me. It’s hitting me now that I’m never going to have this again in my life, and I need to appreciate every single one of you for being here.”
The 33 year old appeared to be on his way to a second-round meeting with ninth-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka after winning the first two sets, but needed to battle for survival in the fifth set after falling behind early. With the support of the home crowd, an inspired Blake got back on serve with a break in the seventh game.
Blake would finish the match having won 170 points to Karlovic’s 167, but was unable to gain the upper hand when it mattered in the fifth set tie-break. The 6’10” Croat clinched the victory in just under three hours with his 38th ace of the night.
Karlovic’s only other comeback from two sets down also came against Blake, in Davis Cup action four years ago.
Watch Blake Interview
Blake received a standing ovation after the match, and told the crowd, “That ovation makes me realise that everything I did, that every bit of hard work was worth it to play in front of you guys, and to do this for 14 years. If I’d just been playing in my backyard, it wouldn’t have meant anything, but to do it in front of you guys, I have so many highs and lows in front of you. It’ll never be forgotten. I’m going to take in every memory I’ve had here.
“I also have to say there’s a few that are special here. Everyone sitting in my box is so important to me. I’m definitely going to think about this match and how I could have won it, but I’m lucky enough to still think of this as a happy moment because I have the rest of my life to spend with the people there in that box. They’ve all been with me through a lot more highs and lows than just tennis. And now the rest of my life will revolve around that, my family and friends. I love you guys for being here and being part of my life and my career.”