Jack Sock: Thriving on team spirit
The highest points scorer for Team World, Jack Sock thrives in team sports, which accounts for his outstanding results in Laver Cup competition.
They include winning seven out of nine doubles matches, upsetting Fabio Fognini in Geneva and pushing Rafael Nadal all the way in their Prague singles encounter, which the Spaniard claimed 11-9 in the final set ‘Laver Breaker’.
It’s because, says Sock, holder of four Grand Slam doubles titles, he grew up in the mid-west, Nebraska, and “I played everything.” When he wasn’t playing sports, he was watching them, with a strong preference for team events.
“For the rest of the year, tennis is such an individualized, personalized sport,” Sock says. “John [McEnroe] and the other guys grew up playing other sports as well, there’s something different about it and we all thrive and feed off each other.”
Captain McEnroe describes Sock as a ‘special ingredient’ for Team World’s 2022 campaign.
“He’s one of the best doubles players in the world, and in singles, he’s capable of pulling off huge upsets as we saw in Geneva,” says McEnroe.
He brings out the best with whomever he teams with in doubles and can handle the intense pressure. It’s no secret that he could be key to pulling off an upset in London. – John McEnore
How it’s going
Sock pieced together a solid season in 2022, returning to the top 100 in singles on July 11. He put in the hard yards on the Challenger Tour, winning Savannah in April, and reaching the semifinals at Nottingham and the final at Ilkley in London.
Ahead of the grass court swing, Sock unleashed his famous bruising forehand on fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round at Indian Wells and was a mere two points away from beating the Greek superstar. The following week in Miami, he qualified for the Masters 1000 and lost a tight first-round match to Miomir Kecmanovic.
After a three-year absence from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Sock played six matches at Wimbledon, three of them to qualify. He battled past No.45-ranked American Maxime Cressy in the second round and narrowly lost to Australian Jason Kubler in five sets a few days later.
Meanwhile in doubles at Wimbledon, Sock reached the men’s quarterfinals with Denis Kudla and the mixed doubles semifinals with Coco Gauff.
Sock’s love of the big stage was evident at the US Open, where he held a two sets lead over teammate No.14 Diego Schwartzman in the first round before succumbing to a back injury. Undeterred, Sock was back for the mixed doubles partnering with Leylah Fernandez, where they reached the quarterfinals.
Sock is a three-time Grand Slam men’s doubles champion and has one Grand Slam title in mixed doubles as well as a gold in mixed at the Rio Olympics with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. In 2018, he was the No.2-ranked doubles player in the world.
While Sock has focused more on singles in the past few years after sustaining a career-threatening hand injury, he paired with John Isner to win the ATP Masters 1000 at Indian Wells and Nick Kyrgios to win at Washington, taking his overall doubles career haul to 17.
Sock on playing Laver Cup
Sock has participated in three Laver Cups and attended the event in Boston as an alternate. Sizing up the opposition for London, he says “they’ve all been beyond incredible.”
Still, Sock likes Team World’s chances. “Most years we’ve played we’ve had chances,” he says.
“Especially two of the years. We were right there within points of finishing it off. There’s been some heartbreak losses.
“Every year we come together with what we call great fellowship, with awesome team vibes, team energy and atmosphere, the bench is always going wild. I’m excited to suit up again with an unreal team on our side and see what we can do.
“I’ve been on Tour for a long time now and played all these guys in regular ATP events, so have all my fellow teammates. I think we’re more excited than anything to put our best effort forth. We have a dangerous team again, if we play well there’s no reason we can’t come out on top.
“I’m stoked to get out there and hopefully put points on the board for our team. Show the team as well why they picked me.”