James Blake is a former professional tennis player from America. Known for his powerful serves and impressive speed, James has taken the tennis world by storm and is now aiming to become a grand slam on the after dinner speaker circuit. A leading expert in performing under pressure and overcoming adversity, he is the ideal public figure to increase the mental resilience and productivity of the audience at your next corporate event, function or conference.
Diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13, Blake continued to play tennis despite having to wear a back brace for 18 hours of the day. Coached by Brian Barker, he ventured into professional tennis in 2001 and made history as the third African-American heritage to play for America in the Davis Cup. His first professional victory came in 2002 at the USTA Waikoloa Challenger before competing at the US Open in 2003 where he reached the third round. 2004 bought him a challenging year as he broke his neck whilst practising for the Masters. Managing to overcome this, he was also faced with loss within his family and then being diagnosed with shingles in which paralysed half of his face.
Making an unbelievable return to the court in 2005, Blake managed to take his world rank number from 210 to 22. Incredible performances as a wildcard for the US Open and taking his third ATP tour title at the Stockholm Open helped him to establish himself as one of the most admirable sportsmen with an incredible ability to overcome setbacks, a topic he often covers as a speaker. James has gone onto win the Sydney International for two consecutive years and also showed his best performance at the 2008 Australian Open where he managed to reach the world top ten. Selected to represent the US at the Bejing Olympic Games, James managed to beat world number one, Roger Federer after several failed attempts to do so throughout his career.
Such a comeback is highlighted in his autobiography Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life which was released in 2007. The book debuted at Number 22 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Most recently, Blake has competed in various competitions including the 2009 Estoril Open, the Aegon Championships, Wimbledon 2010 and the 2013 US Open before announcing his retirement that year. He continues to raise money for his own charities, The James Blake Foundation and the Thomas Blake, Sr. Memorial Research fund which supports cancer research in memory of his father.
An inspiring sportsman, James Blake is the ideal after dinner speaker to motivate audiences and help them to adopt a more resilient and productive mindset. With a whole list of inspiring career anecdotes, James can deliver the most dynamic and compelling speech which will leave a lasting impact on anyone he addresses.