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Blake And Barker Have Parted, Is It Too Late?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake Coach Change In ShanghaiJames Blake, USA
(Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

American James Blake had a brief glimpse at winning again when he took out Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-64, 6-3 on Monday in the first round of the Shanghai ATP Masters, but the victory was short lived.

On Wednesday Spaniard Rafael Nadal defeated Blake in three sets 6-2, 6-74, 6-4. And the hits just keep on coming... perhaps not for good though. Blake is now working with former pro and longtime friend American Kelly Jones. Shockers!

After 17 years on the job, American Brian Barker can now contemplate doing something different with his days, as he is no longer coaching Blake. Nevertheless, Blake states that they continue to have a strong relationship and that this parting is on good terms.

"It's not like we're ending our relationship, we're still good friends, which will never change. Right now we both feel like I need to hear some things from a different voice. Kelly's been close to both of us for a long time, and he's a perfect fit for now. If things go well with him, every one's happy. Brian wants nothing but the best for me. If they don't, then I go back to Brian and we know there's a reason I'm back. It was just time to take a little break and see how it goes with someone else.''

Of the change Barker stated, "I told him that the most important thing in his tennis career is to have a clear head and peace of mind for the rest of your life that you did everything you possibly could to get better, maximize your potential and not leave anything on the table. He eventually agreed that was a good idea."

Barker anticipates that Blake will "... hear the same things in a different way. Sometimes when you're not playing your best, the thinking is that you stir the pot. You put your hat on backwards. There are no guarantees, but you need to look at every option."

After mounting more loss in Cincinnati in August, Blake also stated that he and Barker again discussed the possibilities of a change. "We were going through the same things over and over, and I was looking for answers that probably weren't there. It may not have had anything to do with the coaching. Going into the Open, we had both had come to the understanding that we were going to stop, but we didn't want to change anything during or before the Open, being so important. The comfort level between us is very good and will always be very good."

In response to a cry from various persons that he should get rid of Barker, Blake stated, "If they're talking about you that much, you must have earned that pressure that you've gotten. We never let it affect us. I didn't keep him just to spite people. I'm going to do what's best for me. Now I've hit a point where I need to try something a little different. Kelly's a great coach and people he worked with clearly improved when they worked with him.''

Well, we'll see how it goes, I truly hope that this is a change for the better.

Posted by Shelia

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