On today’s show, I had the honor of speaking with James Blake, former ATP world #4, about his new book Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together. James has amassed 10 singles titles, appeared in 24 singles finals, and beaten some of the greatest tennis players in the world, including Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, and Andy Roddick. I was fortunate enough to connect with James and speak with him while he was in LA commentating on the ATP 1000 Shanghai Masters tournament.
One of the things that stood out the most about James to me was his class on the court. When my dad and I used to watch James play in DC at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic (now the Citi Open), he would thank the ballkids every time they gave him tennis balls or fetched him a towel. James also had one of the biggest forehands on tour, which he used to propel himself up the ranks into the top 5 of the ATP Tour. James continues to impress off the court as well with his second book, Ways of Grace, which he wrote ten years after his first book, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life.
James discusses the incredible athletes in Ways of Grace that have spoken out for a cause, the most difficult time in James’s career, James’s secret weapon for coming back from difficult times, when James experienced discrimination on tour, and more on Episode 55 of The Tennis Files Podcast. Special thanks to GetCharly for helping set up my interview with James! You should definitely check out this fantastic app if you haven’t yet!
I hope you enjoy my interview with James, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below this post!
Time-Stamped Show Notes
- [2:30] How writing James’s second book, Ways of Grace, was a completely different experience from his first book Breaking Back
- [4:10] What James wants readers to get out of reading Ways of Grace
- [6:04] The incredible athletes that James discusses in his book
- [7:26] Why famous individuals should speak out about what they believe in, and the possible repercussions of doing so
- [10:11] One of James’s favorite athletes and what she did to advance society
- [12:05] Times when James experienced discrimination on the ATP Tour
- [14:15] James’s toughest moment in his career and how he persevered through that adversity
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Links Mentioned in the Show
Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together – James’s new book
Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life – James’s first book
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