WebMD Checkup: James Blake
Tennis star James Blake talks about his recovery from illness and injury.
How did scoliosis affect your self-image, both as an athlete and a
It made me pretty self-conscious. But it helped me to realize that if I was a
nice person, people would like me for who I am. As an athlete, it gave me
something to be thankful for --- during those six hours a day I got to take off
the brace, I was eager to put that time to good use and loved doing anything
You had a remarkable year in tennis in 2005. How are you playing
It was a great year for my tennis. I finished with my highest year-end ranking
to date, but I feel like I'm still improving and playing better right now. I've
already won two titles this year and hopefully will continue to succeed and
play even better.
Before a match, how do you prepare, physically and mentally? Do you
have any rituals?
I go over the game plan with my coach. And I need to take a few minutes to
myself to really go over how I am going to execute what I need to do on the
Let's talk nutrition: What foods do you swear by when you are
training, and what is your secret indulgence?
I try to get plenty of protein and carbs --- lots of chicken and pasta, eggs,
cereal and turkey bacon. My favorite indulgence is ice cream. I don't eat candy
or drink soda, but I love ice cream.
If you could play any tennis player from any era, who would it
Andre Agassi. I've been lucky enough to play him quite a few times already.
It's a match where we both get to play our games, but also adjust to what the
other is doing. I also have so much respect for him as a person that it's a
pleasure to play against him.
Of the five senses, which do you value most?
My sight, taste, and hearing was affected when I was sick with shingles. My
sight was the one that I had so much trouble dealing with --- it made me less
athletic. It was tough to cope with having blurred vision.
What's your best health habit? Your worst?
My best health habit is how hard I work out. I'm diligent about staying in
shape. I need to for my career, but I know that I would be doing this no matter
what job I had. I just can't deal with the feeling of being out of shape.
Barring any major injuries, I will be working out all the time even after I
retire. My worst health habit is probably staying up too late. I realize the
importance of sleep, but sometimes I just still stay up and watch a movie or
keep reading way too late.