Retired American tennis star James Blake was just standing on the curb, waiting for a car that would take him to the U.S. Open. Before his ride arrived, someone tackled him from behind.

James Blake

It turned out to be an undercover cop. Blake never would have guessed.

"Maybe I'm naïve, but I just assumed it was someone I went to high school with or something who was running at me to give me a big hug, so I smiled at the guy," Blake told the New York Daily News.

According to Blake, the cop rolled him over and told the ex-tennis star, "Don't say a word." Five officers were involved in the takedown, which was executed flawlessly except for one small detail.

They had tackled the wrong guy.

Yes, Blake was on the receiving end of a bad case of mistaken identity. The Daily News reports that a former cop alerted the arresting officers to Blake's real identity: That of former world tennis star.

"It was definitely scary and definitely crazy," said Blake, who suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises on his legs, along with apparent swelling around his eye. Blake told the newspaper that the officers did not identify themselves as police right away, which added to the terror of the experience.

The cops eventually released Blake and arrested a man who had been standing nearby. That individual was allegedly involved in a scam involving a cellphone and a bogus credit card.

Blake was happy to have the situation resolved, but hours later at the U.S. Open he was still upset that the experience had to be so violent and unnecessary.

"In my mind, there's probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there's no reason for anybody to do that to anybody," he said. "I was just standing there. I wasn't running. It's not even close [to being OK]. It's blatantly unnecessary [to tackle in that situation]."

Blake ultimately felt the officers failed to uphold their "protect and serve" creed. Said Blake: "I didn't feel very safe."

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Highlights Of 'Serena 21' Mural


1999 U.S. Open

Serena won her first grand slam at age 17.


2002 U.S. Open

Serena captured her second grand slam by knocking off sister Venus.


2003 Australian Open

Serena's first Australian Open included a finals win over Venus (bottom middle).


2003 Wimbledon

After dropping the first set to Venus, Serena powered back for her sixth grand slam title and fifth championship win versus her older sister.


2008 U.S. Open

Serena won the nation's champion for third time with a victory over Jelena Jankovic.


2008 U.S. Open

Serena won the nation's champion for third time with a victory over Jelena Jankovic.


2009 Australian Open

Serena won her tenth grand slam against Dinara Safina in a final that included a 6-0 first set (middle).


2010 Wimbledon

Serena did not drop a set en route to back-to-back titles in the UK (bottom middle)


2013 French Open

It took 11 years for Serena to reclaim the Roland Garros podium after her first Paris title in 2002. She now has three French Open crowns (bottom left).


2014 U.S. Open

Serena's latest U.S. Open title, her sixth overall, came against close friend Caroline Wozniacki.


2015 Australian Open

Serena's Aussie Open win earlier this year was her third grand slam title victory against rival Maria Sharapova.


2015 Wimbledon

Serena's 6-4, 6-4 disposal of Garbiñe Muguruza marked the second time Serena won the "Serena Slam" of four straight majors from the U.S. Open to Wimbledon.


21 Grand Slam Titles

Serena is one grand slam championship away from tying Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22.


International Impact

Gatorade commissioned artists from around the world to depict Serena's accomplishments.



'Serena 21' is featured on a 13' x 90' outdoor wall in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.


Ready For U.S. Open

The wall was completed on Monday night, while Serena won her first round match against Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0, 2-0, ret.


Smashing Toward History

With a U.S. Open title, Serena would become the only player other than Graf to win the calendar grand slam in the Open Era.


Consecutive Wins

Serena can win her fourth straight U.S. Open, a feat only accomplished by Chris Evert in the Open Era.


U.S. Open Glory

A U.S. Open title would give Serena the all-time record of seven U.S. Open championships.


Serena's Popularity

It is believed this year is the first time the U.S. Open women's final sold out before the men's final.



Serena's sponsor commissioned the mural.


The Titles

Serena's 21 grand slam titles in pictures.

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