"Comeback Kid" James Blake retires from tennis

Mike Wallace's 2005 interview with the tennis player who suffered catastrophic injuries, but still considered himself fortunate

This past Monday, James Blake announced his plans to retire from tennis after the U.S. Open.

At a press conference, Blake became emotional as he spoke nostalgically about his 14 years on tour. Blake is currently ranked 100th in the world and has a 9-13 record this season heading into his first-round match in the U.S. Open.

"This is my last tournament," Blake said. "It took me a while to come to this decision, but I'm really happy with it and comfortable with it."

Here at 60 Minutes, James Blake is known for his memorable interview with Mike Wallace in 2005. He was then referred to as the "Comeback Kid."

In that interview, Blake recounted a series of tragedies that almost killed him. At the time, Blake was on the fast track. He signed a modeling contract, appeared on the pages of Teen Vogue and GQ and was quickly becoming one of the world's best tennis players.

But the path to success wasn't easy. In 2004, while practicing for the Masters Tournament in Rome, Blake lost his balance and slammed head-first into a steel pole, breaking his neck. While home recuperating from the injury, Blake's father died of stomach cancer. As he told 60 Minutes, the stress from the loss of his father triggered a severe case of shingles, which temporarily paralyzed half of his face, reduced his hearing and blurred his sight.

Despite it all, Blake had a comeback, becoming the world's number four tennis player in 2006. In the interview, Blake told Wallace that he feels fortunate. And the collision with the steel pole? He calls it "lucky" - It allowed him to spend more time with his father before his death. Watch an excerpt from the interview below.

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