Blake joins Tennis Channel for Davis Cup
LOS ANGELES — American tennis star James Blake, whose career includes a top-five ranking and 10 singles titles, will appear as a guest analyst during Tennis Channel’s exclusive first-round Davis Cup coverage this weekend. A Davis Cup team member from 2001-2003 and 2005-2009, Blake played a significant role in helping the U.S. squad capture its first cup in 12 years in 2007, and will offer his unique perspective at the competition between the Americans and initial 2013 opponent Brazil, live beginning Friday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. ET.
It is the first time that Blake will appear on television in an analyst’s role. He will share Tennis Channel’s booth with announcer Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) and interact with sideline reporter Ashley Fisher (@ashley_fisher75).
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to participate in Tennis Channel’s Davis Cup coverage,” said Blake. “There are few matches in our sport that take place in such a passionate, intense atmosphere. I’ve always loved how energized the crowds are during Davis Cup.”
Blake was a fixture of the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2001-2009, with the exception of 2004, which he missed for health reasons, and compiled a 21-12 record for his country. In 2007, en route to winning the championship with fellow stars Andy Roddick and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, Blake posted a 5-2 record, including two wins in the final against Russia. The team was captained by Patrick McEnroe.
During a professional career that begin in 1999, Blake has put together a 357-242 record and amassed 10 ATP World Tour titles, among them a 2006 championship at a Las Vegas tournament then owned and aired by Tennis Channel. That same year he reached a career-high No. 4 in the singles rankings, battling all the way into the top five after having missed extensive time in 2004 while recovering from injury and illness. In 2008 Blake competed in the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Blake joins a list of tennis stars who first tested the television broadcast waters with Tennis Channel while still active as players, among them Lindsay Davenport, Justin Gimelstob, Rennae Stubbs and Corina Morariu.
“We couldn’t be happier to have James as part of Tennis Channel’s Davis Cup team this weekend,” said Bob Whyley, senior vice president, production, and executive producer, Tennis Channel. “We’ve been fortunate to work with a number of players while they were still on the tour, and to allow our viewers to experience the sport through people who know what it’s like to be out there right now, competing in these types of matches and against today’s players. James knows what it takes to be a Davis Cup champion, and we think he’s going to be a great guest analyst for Tennis Channel.”
After back-to-back singles matches beginning Friday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. ET, the U.S.-Brazil competition resumes with a doubles match Saturday, Feb. 2, also at 2 p.m. ET. The remaining back-to-back singles matches take place Sunday, Feb. 3, at 12 p.m. ET. In Davis Cup play, each of the five matches is worth one point, with the nation that wins at least three points advancing to the next round. The winner of this weekend’s first-round battle will face either Serbia or Belgium in April’s quarterfinal round.
In addition to live United States-Brazil action, this weekend Tennis Channel will televise the first-round matchup between defending champion Czech Republic and Switzerland. Set in Geneva, the competition features three of the four players who led the Czech Republic to last year’s Davis Cup title: Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol. The Swiss lineup counters with, most notably, Stanislas Wawrinka, who last week fought an epic five-set battle against No. 1 singles player (and eventual tournament winner) Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.
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