Tennis

James Blake named tournament director of Miami Open

Former tennis player James Blake was named tournament director of the Miami Open. He will oversee player relations, media and tournament improvements.
Former tennis player James Blake was named tournament director of the Miami Open. He will oversee player relations, media and tournament improvements. Miami Herald Staff

Retired tennis player James Blake, one of the most respected names in the sport, was hired as tournament director of the Miami Open on Thursday.

In the new position, created for him, Blake will be in charge of player relations, media, broadcast and tournament improvements and innovations. Adam Barrett, the longtime Miami Open tournament director, remains as Executive Director.

The tournament will be played on Key Biscayne for the last time March 19 to April 1 after three decades at the Crandon Park site. It will move to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Miami Open team that has been putting on one of the best tennis events for more than 30 years,” said Blake. “As a player, I always loved playing in Miami and I am excited for the opportunity to take the tournament experience to a higher level for the players, sponsors and fans.”

“James’s extensive knowledge of tennis from both a player and tournament perspective, along with his proven leadership skills, great reputation and strong relationships throughout the sport, make him the perfect choice to serve as tournament director of the Miami Open,” Barrett said. “He is going to make our team stronger and will be a great bridge for the players and fans.”

Blake won 10 ATP singles titles over his 14-year career and reached a career-high world No.4 ranking. He served as the Vice President of the ATP Player Council; and has been involved in some of the most epic matches at the US Open, where he reached two quarterfinals.

In 2008, Blake became the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work on cancer research through the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center he helped create. To date, the fund has raised more than $3 million for cancer research. Throughout his career, Blake also helped raise funds for the Harlem Junior Tennis Program, which gave him his start in tennis.

After losing his father and suffering a broken neck during the 2004 season, Blake returned to the ATP tour in 2005 and was named the ATP Comeback Player of the Year. He has written two books: “Breaking Back, How I Lost Everything and Won My Life Back”, an autobiography about the hardest year of his life, which reached No.15 on the NY Times bestseller list, and “Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity and How Sports Can Bring Us Together.”

Blake has been working as an analyst for Tennis Channel and CNN, and is President of the USTA Foundation. He lives in San Diego with wife Emily and two daughters, Riley and Emma.

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