Running on empty after a breakout 2017 and with an off-season stacked with charity events and weddings, Jack Sock has hit his reset button a little later than most. The first indication of the American’s big 2017 came at last year’s BNP Paribas Open where he reached the semi-finals.
Back to defend those points with a Top 10 ranking to boot, the 25-year-old is rebuilding after some delayed time-out. He fell in his opening two matches of the season – in Auckland and at the Australian Open – before deciding to take that much-needed break.
“That reset was the month after Australia I took,” Sock said. “Obviously, the last two weeks, results wise, it hasn’t really shown, the work I put in.
“I flew home from Melbourne, I think even that day I was in the gym. I was in the gym for three and a half to four weeks straight, taking that time off, choosing not to play Davis Cup in Serbia to get my mind right again and my body in shape.”
The upside to Sock’s maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters late last season was a last-minute qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
He would reach the semi-finals there on debut to end the season with a Top 10 ATP Ranking. The downside was a shorter than expected off-season, juggling off-court commitments with a race to be fresh again for his return Down Under.
“I had no expectations being in London so I had to re-do my off-season schedule. I’d already committed to things not thinking I was going to be in London,” Sock said. “I fly home and I’m travelling a lot in my off-season. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have probably scheduled that many things if I’d known I was going to be in London.
“So that’s why I took time after Australia to regroup, be home, being in my own bed for more than two days. I feel a lot more confident now, a lot happier, I’m out there playing instead of being stressed out.”
Sock won four straight three-setters before eventual champion Roger Federer brought his run to an end in the semi-finals of last year’s BNP Paribas Open. Sock saved four match points to upset Grigor Dimitrov in the third round and also stunned fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals en route.
Hopes of him becoming the next great American have only heightened. It’s an expectation he is all too aware of, having assumed the mantle as American No. 1.
“I think the [American] fans are used to having someone winning a slam, at least competing to win a slam, winning multiple tournaments outside of that,” he said. “There were multiple guys in the past to get behind. Obviously there hasn’t been that level yet. We’re all doing our best. It’s a tough sport.
“There’s a guy named Federer, another named [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic winning a lot of tournaments in the last 15 years so it’s not the easiest just to weasel your way in there and win.
“But I think the sport is changing a little bit … I think there’s a new wave coming in.” . read full article