James Blake’s lifetime underachievement

The great John Wooden once said it’s impossible to overachieve. There’s no way an athlete, or anyone for that matter, can achieve something over his potential. Coach Wooden hates the phrase “I’m giving it 110%” because 110 doesn’t exist. Only 100% is possible. Furthermore, Coach Wooden says we are actually all underachievers, so when I watch a James Blake blakematch why do I feel as though he may be underachieving in a way that no one else can? This guy has never made it past a quarterfinal of a major. Insane, with his blazing forehand, world class speed and overall power that he hasn’t put it together yet. And – unfortunately for him – he’s 29, which is ancient in tennis. J-Bo hasn’t won consecutive matches since February and is beginning to look like he’s completely lost his confidence. Some may say I’m overreacting, considering his latest loss was on the dirt, but I say I’m not. He just lost to a qualifier who’s ranked 112 in the world, and hadn’t won a match on the ATP World Tour all season, until yesterday. J-Bo has seemed to get down on himself a whole lot more than usual lately. His 8-7 record for the season is very disappointing, especially considering he’s 2-5 his last seven ATP matches. The worst part about it is on the ATP website, you can fill out your draws for each ATP 1000 series, and they put it up before the qualifiers are even determined. I chose Blake to lose without even knowing his opponent because of the combination of the red stuff, his fading confidence, and his perfection at the art of underachievement. Maybe J-Bo should just take a page from Andy Roddick’s book, and not even bother to show up for these clay tournaments anymore. Maybe J-Bo should just take some time off, relax a take a deep breath. Maybe he should wait until the grass season – nevermind, Blake has surprisingly never done well on the grass. Or maybe he should just wait for the U.S. Open Series and play every single event and hope he can accumulate as many points as possible against inferior competition. Whatever J-Bo does, he needs to solve his problems quickly or else he may be forced into retirement in the near future.

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