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MASON, Ohio (Reuters) - Former world number four James Blake, who has slumped to outside the top 100, says he will take a break from the sport after the U.S. Open and may assess his future in tennis.
The American's decline continued with a 6-3 6-0 loss to Russian Denis Istomin in just 45 minutes at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday.
"I didn't have my best, or even close to my best. I haven't felt prepared for a tournament for a long time thanks to a lot of injuries," Blake told reporters after a listless second set display. "I've felt like things have been getting better, and then you get setback after setback and it takes its toll."
The 30-year-old, ranked 107th in the world, has battled a range of injuries over the past 18 months, including nagging soreness to his knee, shoulder and hamstring.
Blake has not felt fully fit since 2008 and said that while he will play New Haven next week and the U.S. Open at the end of the month, he was ready for a break to try and get himself back into a position where he can handle more practice hours.
"If that doesn't work, I'll start thinking of other options. I don't know how many more are left after that other than the rest and recovery," said Blake, who has not had an actual vacation in about six years.
"But if it doesn't get back, you know, I knew at some point my body was gonna give out probably. I hope it's not this year; I hope it's not next year; I hope it's not for a few years. But right now it's testing my patience."
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Frank Pingue. To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com; +44 207 542 7935. Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; For the sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport/