James Blake Ethnicity And Parents: Where Is The Tennis Player From?

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The retired tennis player James Blake comes from a family of mixed ethnicity. His mother, Betty Blake, an English woman, has previously talked about racism in the US after an unfortunate incident with her son in 2015.

James Blake was slammed to the ground by an NYPD officer and later received an apology as the former tennis player had done nothing wrong. Betty and many others believed it was a racially charged attack. 

The former World No.4 didn’t suggest that the incident was racially motivated, but he said the incident had left him feeling “raw.” The American tennis player started playing tennis at a young age, and his father was the one to teach him the sport.

James Blake Pictured During His Interview In 2015
James Blake Pictured During His Interview In 2015 (Source: Twitter)

His father, Thomas Blake Sr., passed away in 2004 after battling stomach cancer. The former Davis Cup winner has established the James Blake Foundation, which is dedicated to cancer research. 

The 44-year-old former tennis player recently featured in Pickleball Slam 2 alongside other tennis legends. The Pickleball Slam 2 held on Sunday saw Steff Graf and Andre Agassi defeat John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova to win the slam.

James Blake Ethnicity: Where Is The Former Tennis Player From?

The former American tennis player, James Blake, has mixed ethnicity. Blake was raised in Yonkers, New York, by an African-American father and an English mother. 

Blake’s mother, Betty Blake (née Misseldine), was born and raised in Banbury, Oxfordshire. She moved to the US at age 17, where she met James’ father, Thomas Blake Sr. 

Blake once said that he had previously traveled to Banbury to visit some of his relatives from his mom’s side. In his interview with the Independent, Blake said he met a lady in the pub who remembered his mother.

He added that one cannot remove the smile from his mother’s face whenever she comes to England. When asked if he felt empathy towards his mother’s homeland, Blake said he felt at home with the English culture. 

James Blake Opened Up In An Interview About The Racial Incident That Happened In 2015
James Blake Opened Up In An Interview About The Racial Incident That Happened In 2015 (Source: Twitter)

Previously, in 2015, Blake’s mother, Betty, spoke up about racism in America. The incident that prompted her to speak about it was an attack on her son by an NYPD officer. 

Betty wrote in the New York Daily News about the incident how an NYPD officer tackled her son outside the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Blake was handcuffed, arrested, and detained. Later, the officers admitted they were in the wrong. 

She wrote, “I believe the great majority of people who read this story know it has to do with race. It seems there’s no end to racism in this country – in fact, it seems to get worse.”

Betty had seen segregation take place in real-time in the US. When she and Thomas lived in Missouri, segregation was still lawful. In her piece, Betty said she felt guilt for bringing her son to a world where this could happen. 

James Blake Parents

James Blake’s parents, Thomas Blake Sr. and Betty Blake, raised two sons, both tennis players. Thomas Blake Sr. passed away in June 2004 after a long battle with gastric cancer. 

Thomas and Betty met on a tennis court, and Thomas was the one to persuade his son to pick up the tennis racquet. In an interview, James said he and his brother were raised on tennis courts.

James said his parents would take them to tennis courts as he believed they were too frugal to pay for babysitters. Thomas Sr learned to play tennis during his time with the Air Force.

During their first meeting at Fay Park in Yonkers, Betty would outplay her future husband. But despite teaching their sons to play tennis, the couple was strict on their kids’ academics. This was one of the reasons the boys were able to enroll at Havard. 

In an interview, James said he had a hard time convincing his father to let him become a professional tennis player. But once Thomas Sr. realized his son was good, he allowed him to do so.

James Blake's Mother, Betty Pictured By The New York Daily News In 2015
James Blake’s Mother, Betty, Pictured By The New York Daily News In 2015 (Source: Twitter)

At the time of his demise, Thomas Sr was a sales manager at 3M. James didn’t divulge any conversation that he had with his father during his finals days for a long time. He didn’t even tell his mother, Betty, about it.

He only talked about it three years after his father’s demise. Previously, James’ mother, Betty, published a book titled Mix it Up, Make it Nice: Secrets of a Tennis Mom in 2010. 

It took Betty four years to complete the book in which she talks about family values, her two son’s journey to becoming professional tennis players, and race relations. 

In her New York Daily News piece, Betty once wrote that as a Caucasian, she couldn’t empathize completely, with the plight of an African-American in the US. 

Sriyukta Pradhananga
Sriyukta Pradhananga

Sriyukta Pradhananga

Sriyukta Pradhananga is a versatile writer with a keen interest in exploring the multifaceted dimensions of sports. Her articles offer readers a dynamic blend of insightful analysis, engaging storytelling, and thought-provoking commentary that sheds light on the diverse experiences within the athletic realm.


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  • Sriyukta keeps abreast of the latest advancements in sports technology.
  • She examines issues related to sports ethics, fair play, and integrity.


With a background in journalism and a passion for sports, Sriyukta approaches each article with a blend of curiosity, rigor, and creativity. She strives to illuminate the complexities and nuances of the sports world, sparking meaningful conversations and inspiring readers to engage more deeply with the athletic endeavors that unite us all.

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