Nov/19

8

Jack Sock Vows: I will be back and better than ever

Jack Sock vowed on Instagram yesterday that he intends to not only regain his top ten form but to be even better.

The currently formerly singles ranked American has made the bold declaration a week after losing all of his ATP singles points because he has not managed to win one singles match all year (not counting the Laver Cup win vs Fognini) due to substandard form and a thumb injury.

It will be a very long and difficult road back for Sock to regain his lost prominence and prestige on the Futures and Challenger circuits but it’s good to see that Sock is pumping himself up to salvage his wrecked career.

If Sock is to reverse his ATP fortunes he will need to employ a different work ethic and seriousness. He will have to change his diet, he will have to train harder on and off the court, he will need to stop playing silly games on practice courts, he will need to abandon goofing around with trick shots.

Sock will need to dismiss his entire team and start over with new faces and new voices, preferably a former player who has endured a similar adversity. One figure that comes to mind is Andre Agassi. Another is Vince Spadea.

A great champion like Jack Sock can never be counted out. He’s just 27, he has the capacity and weaponry to win doubles majors and threaten the top players in singles – if he’s at his best. At his worst he can lose to Sekou Bangoura.

Hopefully Sock is busy backing up his big words as we speak. Hopefully Sock has already trained for a couple of hours this morning. Hopefully he will train for five more hours later today and hit the gym after.

Hopefully he will adopt a Guillermo Vilas type work ethic where he will work for six straight days to fix a weakness, or practice a certain shot for eight hours straight. Or like Lleyton Hewitt, schedule and reserve a practice court (in San Jose) two weeks in advance.

If Sock thinks he can make it back to the top of tennis with the same work ethic he has utilized for the last two years, he may fall woefully short of achieving his latest goal, the bold vow to come roaring back to the ATP top ten and to be even better than he has ever shown.

281 comments

  • Jon King · November 10, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I love the bubble talk with girls because we have been immersed in girl’s juniors for so long. The formation is comically predictable at this point.

    At age 7-8 the girls are all silly, play tag or hide and seek more than practice. All the parents are buddies, play dates, tennis leads to everything else.

    Ages 9-12, like clock work, if your girl beats their girl, every single tennis parent wants to train with your kid, your coach, your program. If their girl wins the match, no matter how close or by what means, they do not give you the time of day. On court, girls still talk and giggle with each other though.

    Ages 13-14, girls stop talking to each other unless already friends. Total silence from the time they get balls at the tournament desk. When playing doubles will help rankings, they will partner up. If they win, doubles partners will be friendly to each other. Lose and they act like they never met before once the match is done. Parents of ‘it’ girls (well ranked girls) act like royalty. They will give condescending advice to ‘lesser ranked’ parents, but only socialize with other high ranked parents.

    Age 15-16, 2 types of girls show up to tournaments as many others have quit tennis by now. The girls with a chance to win, very serious, full entourage surrounding them. Do not talk to anyone unless they win and Collette from Zoo Tennis wants to do an interview. The rest of the girls are there for the boys, strutting, laughing, looks like a any high school cafeteria at this point.

    Age 17 and up, pretty much only the bubble girls are left playing serious juniors and they are the ones who go on to the pros.

  • Andrew Miller · November 10, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    So depressing. No wonder so many junior girls quit or get injured or find some other distraction. This sounds like the pit and it’s not healthy for any player’s development. Somehow I don’t think France is like the States. Some of Canada sounded like that with Bouchard I don’t need friends on tour quip (to describe the break up between Bouchard and Laura Robson, does anyone even know what that was about? A coach, Saviano? Who neither works with anymore? Betrayal?

    Hopefully some players look at the Bouchard Robson riff and say wow…not worth it. Look where it ended up? Poach a coach and lose friends. Now both careers in dumps, neither works with Saviano.

  • catherine · November 10, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    I didn’t know Robson was even particularly friendly with Bouchard – let alone they’d had a tiff. Robson has been completely off the radar here for a long time. She was tried out as a commentator at the GB Fed Cup tie early this year but didn’t do too well I heard. Her twitter photo is so glammed up I didn’t recognise her.

    Laura’s career went off the rails before she was out of her teens. Not sure what went wrong, apart from her talent not being equal to her publicity.

  • Andrew Miller · November 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Robson got hurt, but like some players sometimes they like life away from tennis. The press isn’t hounding them anymore, the pressure is off. Robson is reportedly training again, and was inspired by Murray and his comeback from the grave of injuries. There’s less pressure on her as well and zero expectations. It would be only upside for her to come back from a hip injury. A hip injury is serious stuff.

    The thing driving her would be the Olympics. She said she wants to play Fed Cup, but obviously that hasn’t happened. On the flip side British tennis is Jo Konta and Jo Konta. Robson with some work could be there. She has a nice lefty power game. But maybe her heart isn’t in it.

    My whole point was to say the Saviano thing of Bouchard versus Robson ultimately was worthless. Over time Bouchard has become more like Robson, and Robson more like Bouchard, so they have more to talk about. Ah…female friendships on tour, fraught with drama. Never let’s play ping pong and be done with this.

    https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/tennis/british-tennis-star-laura-robson-drawing-inspiration-from-andy-murray-as-she-fights-back-from-hip-a4259651.html

  • catherine · November 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks – I don’t see the Standard and Robson’s story hasn’t been anywhere else.

    I think she’s living in a dream. Not sure how she hurt her hip she’s played so little tennis. Her movement wasn’t ever that good anyway.

    The ES calling her a ‘British tennis star’ is stretching things a bit. I know I sound grudging but I really think Laura should face reality and accept she’s not going to go anywhere now. It’s a kind of half life, just hanging around the game. I wonder how people can do it.

  • Hartt · November 10, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Talk about old news! The Bouchard and Robson tiff was way back when Genie was doing well. Laura seemed to think Saviano was her coach, but he had agreed to travel with Genie. I don’t think it was a matter of poaching, Robson and Bouchard were both at Saviano’s academy, but that did not make him the personal coach of either until he formally went with Bouchard.

    I have to give Genie credit, she is playing in small events this fall, so she is trying to get her career back on the rails.

  • Andrew Miller · November 10, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Thiem d. Federer, now 5-2 vs Fed?! Wow

    Djokovic d. Berretini 6-2 6-1. Total shellacking.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 10, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Thiem has figured out the Fed puzzle. Didn’t even need to win 20 majors to do it either!

  • Andrew Miller · November 10, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Thiem was a beast today, really beat up on Federer, though Djokovic beat up on Berretini far, far worse (total beat down). Anyone else amused with Michael Venus and Klassen, both past dubs partners to Ryan Harrison, doing great in London as one of the top dubs teams? I’m amused. Tennis has so much irony in it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 10, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t remember Klassen and Harrison ever teaming up.

  • Andrew Miller · November 10, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Scoop, I’m shocked. World Team Tennis, 2016. Harrison joined wtt and was MVP that year and teamed with Klassen to win thw wtt doubles. It was one of the reasons Harrison’s confidence tank was overflowing – he had battled through some qualies draws that summer, then played wtt and was MVP, won matches with Klassen including the wtt team title, and then qualified with his brother for the US open main draw, where he knocked off Raonic before falling in round three.

    Harrison had a huge summer after a generally abysmal year.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Thiem is ambitious. Federer is running down. You can tell from the way he’s organising his life and schedule. He wants a smooth transition.
    Depends on how many losses he can take.

    Domi was inspired by Kiki 🙂

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Hartt – I remember your making that exact same comment about Bouchard around 3 years ago and although Genie seemed to try she’s never looked like getting back to a decent ranking. Her game just isn’t there. She’s a bit young to think about retirement but I wonder how much real enjoyment she can get out of her tennis life now.

    Sam Stosur is a player who should retire IMO. And Sabine Lisicki. W’don finalist and now qualifying. I wouldn’t like to see Angie following that path. Somehow I don’t think she will. Big decision for all players – how to make the graceful exit. Serena ? We’re waiting.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Catherine, I agree about the state of Genie’s game. As you know, I am not a fan of her style of play and the fact she hasn’t added any variety.

    In a Nov. 9 interview she said she still enjoyed playing tennis, whether it was at Wimbledon or “at a Challenger on a court like this, which is beautiful.” She said it was a long road but she would continue playing tennis until she didn’t feel like it, and she didn’t see that happening. I believe her that she truly loves the sport. She certainly doesn’t need the money.

    So I do respect the fact that she is willing to play these small tourneys. She believes she can be successful again and, like you, I have doubts about that. But she is showing a fighting spirit and a willingness to slog it out on the Challenger circuit.

    One thing that could make a difference is if she didn’t have so many abdominal injuries. We don’t hear about her injuries as much as someone like Milos, but they have been an ongoing problem.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 8:14 am

    Bouchard doesn’t tackle the game as she had. She’s not the same player or person she was in 2014. This happens to players on both tours. Sometimes they never recapture the magic. Deep down there’s a competitor there, but at this point I’m pretty sure Bouchard is more in it for the lifestyle on tour than its rigors, or history etc. She’s safe and sound in the Bouchard Bubble.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 8:16 am

    We can only hope Andreescu inspires Bouchard. That would speak to whatever competitive instinct she still has in her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 11, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Harrison screwed up by snubbing WTT. WTT saved his career and then he betrayed it. Must sign up for WTT right now, sign up a 5 year contract. Never forget the roots to your success.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Genie’s relationship with Bianca is interesting. They have played Fed Cup together, so they know one another despite the 6 year age gap.

    Before their Rogers Cup match they tweeted back and forth, saying let’s give the fans a battle, and it was a pretty good match.

    Whether Bianca’s success can inspire Genie is tough to say. Genie has been stubborn about making any changes to her game, and I suspect she needs to do that to have any real success now.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Yeah, Harrison. Predictable. You ditch what works and then pay the price. For whatever reason he’s not capable of looking at what worked for him. He thrived having a team element to his game, then ditched the team. In fact, we could look at this as: Harrison rises in 2016, winning matches everywhere that summer whether qualies for main draws, doubles matches or wtt and he enters US Open and 2017 on a high note, and continues to do well. Then 2018, scuffle with DY over stupidest thing of all time, and by end of 2019 doesn’t play WTT much (a match or two?) Finds himself at his lowest ranking, maybe since 2010.

    Predictable. The guy can’t see what others see about him, that he needs matches and confidence. Wherever he can get them. He’s a confidence player.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Bianca stars in a luscious BMW ad – I do hope she can keep her feet on the ground. She should be back in Toronto now getting treatment for her knee. She glams up nicely – temptation to go the Kerber route.

    Bruneau has just become Coach of the Year – some award I haven’t heard of. I hope he doesn’t get WTA Coach of the Year – previous winner Sascha Bajin ? Or was it Wim Fisette ?

    Bianca’s going to face some fierce competition when she returns – everyone’s going to have had time to digest 2019, rerun the videos etc. This will be a crucial year for her.

    Genie’s ranked down in the 200s – if she’s in it for the lifestyle she won’t find much exotic in some of the places she’ll find herself playing. And has she a coach ? Must be demoralising sometimes.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Glam over Glory. Maybe the money is too good and no one plays for record books. You get your slam, you’re already best player in Canadian history men or women, there’s no one yet on your radar from Canada. Just hit the pedal on that beamer.

    I worry about this stuff. I notice in past few years that players have options beyond the game so they flirt with that and their tennis turns to mush.

    So goes it. Enjoy this era of many many many wta players getting a slam.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Players can’t handle fame. It’s intoxicating. Players are lucky to have a supportive team.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Genie’s coach is Jorge Todero. I don’t know anything about him.

    The coaching award that Sylvain Bruneau received is a Canadian award for coaches in all sports, not just tennis.

    “During this gala, Sylvain Bruneau will receive the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year Award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of a Canadian Coach who exemplifies the qualities of the legendary Jack Donohue. These values include honesty, integrity, positive attitude, competitiveness and a love of sport.” (Tennis Canada)

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Hardly a surprise, Milos has a back injury and has withdrawn from Davis Cup. I was expecting this all along. Brayden Schnur will replace him.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Andrew – I think Angie played for the record books. I think she sees that now. Luckily, whatever happens in her future she’s got the 3 GSs. So she’s free to do shampoo ads and whatever else. Maybe not opening the newest branch of Aldi or Lidl though. There are limits.

    The O2 in London is such a social scene. You aren’t anyone if you aren’t there. Even if you can’t tell a tennis ball from a golf ball and you’ve never been near this particularly dreary part of London in your life.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Hartt – I fear for Milos’ future as his body ages. It’s taken a battering and he could be in for a lot of pain.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Although I agree that the glam stuff can be distracting, it does not have to take away from the player’s tennis. As long as tennis itself remains the priority there can be time for some of the other stuff.

    Players need to find a balance because if all there is is a tennis grind that too, can be a problem.

    There is a terrific interview with Bethanie Mattek-Sands where she talks about changing her attitude. She knew some retired players regretted not taking more advantage of the travel, etc. So she decided she would stay in the foreign location for a day or two after a tourney, visit the Great Wall of China, etc.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Hartt – it’s true about the travel. A lot of players have blinkers on and ignore all the different places they visit. Petko is an exception here – she gets the most out of her travels.

    In London Tsistipas bt Medvedev in SS. Good result for T.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I thought Tsitsipas played well in that match. I wasn’t able to see the final stats, but he won 14/18 points at the net in the first set. He went behind Medvedev a few times, a good tactic.

    Before the tourney Stefanos talked about how much he enjoyed London, that he was looking forward to taking photos there and visiting art galleries. He is another player who does get the most out of the travel.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Fame is intoxicating. Players don’t know what to do with celebrity in general and few carry it well. Especially when it comes all at once. I assume that’s why players like getting back on the road – in Australia for example the press and media put more attention on how Aussies are doing, so they choke and other players have less pressure, fewer media obligations, demands on time.

    When soon start throwing BMWs at you (they threw a few at Medvedev and he’s now lost more matches – expect everyone to beat up on him indoors) the player can’t help it. It gets to their heads. It’s only natural.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Kerber is Hall of Fame and doesn’t owe the sport etc. She can settle into her future role soon of handing out winners trophies at WTA Germany events. Unless she wants another slam.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Angie will be around for another year – she’s the poster girl for the new Berlin pre-Wimbledon grass tournament (new as in old – the one Steffi won 9 times) brandishing her racquet under the Brandenburg Gate. And there’s the Olympics. Interesting to see if she bothers with another coach – or just borrows one from the DTB, like Julia. At the moment she’s not saying.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    It will be interesting to see which players do retire after the Olympics. Especially with the men, there are so many well into their thirties now.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Bianca has posted recent photos of her in Paris, Milan and now Switzerland. Looks like she is enjoying her European holiday.

    The daily grind will begin soon enough.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Genie finally won a match. A gal’s gotta start somewhere!

    “Genie Bouchard earns her first singles win since February, snapping a 13-match losing streak with a 7-6, 6-4 win in Houston over Valentini Grammatikopoulou.”
    (twitter)

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Hartt – I’m glad Bianca is enjoying her holiday but I find it all a bit bizarre. We were led to believe (by Bruneau) her knee problem was quite serious and she was going back to Toronto for treatment straight away. Now she’s still in Europe and leaving things a bit late to fix her knee and then start training.

    Obviously I hope all turns out ok but, as I said before, if she retires in Australia with a similar injury then there should be changes in her team.

    BTW – looks as if the conditions in Australia are going to be the hottest ever. In Perth the temperature was 36 degs and it is only early November.

  • catherine · November 11, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Can’t say I’m thrilled with new WTA site design. Horrible.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    There hasn’t been any further word on Bianca’s knee injury. Maybe it wasn’t as serious as they originally thought.

    The WTA site is still terrible after the new design.

  • Andrew Miller · November 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Zverev d. Nadal easily. Yikes. He must really be out of practice. And Tsitsipas over Medvedev…that BMW sponsorship he and Andreescu signed is ruining players 🙂

  • Jon King · November 11, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Hats off to Ci Ci Bellis. 4 wrist surgeries and a year and a half off and she comes out with 2 wins in Houston. She also has put on a good bit of muscle during her rehab.

  • Hartt · November 11, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Rafa was far from his best today, but Zverev played well. He served extremely well, with an average first serve speed of 133 mph. and had several serves at over 140 mph. Even with this powerful serving he still had a first serve % of 69%. He had 11 aces and 2 DFs (which came one after the other).

  • Dan Markowitz · November 11, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Really interesting today to see how much rust was on Nadal since he last played and got to semis of Paris. Jim Courier announcing for Tennis Channel said he’d never ever seen a match where Nadal only had one winner on his forehand (he ended up with I think three). His forehand which usually looks other-wordly just didn’t have the mustard on it. He was taking balls he normally rifles into corners and hitting right back to Zverev in middle of the court. If I were a subscriber of Scoop’s “Unconscious Tank” theory I’d think Nadal was scared of playing Medvedev again, but in this format, he has to play him anyway.

    Nadal also looked edgy the whole match. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Nadal and Fed both are getting a little more edgy and snap a lot quicker at the umpire than they used to. Maybe it’s a sign of age or they’re feeling more pressure because they just can’t step on the court and dominate as much anymore.

    As I write this, The Koz in Champaign, Illinois Challenger just gave up his break in the third set to a player named Simon Carr, ranked no. 514. I think of the Koz and I think this is a dude who got to junior Wimbledon finals. He was ranked by the top USTA coaches as being a big prospect along with Donaldson, Tiafoe and Fritz. I don’t know if JD will ever come back from his injuries and the Koz, sad to say, should look for other gainful employment else he’s going to be a tennis pro somewhere probably. Ain’t bad living, but not what he must’ve thought was the golden path in front of him.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    The Koz prevailed in the third-set tie-breaker against Carr, who’s 20 and happens to be the No. 1 player from Ireland. The Koz has a good serve, but his forehand which is beefed up, can go astray, like it did at 3-4 with Carr serving at 15-40 when the Koz missed four forehands in a row. He looks like he’s in pretty good shape, but it’s indoor tennis. Seemed like a good guy. He hit Carr in the back retrieving a dropper and seemed truly upset and concerned with Carr’s well-being. Little strange I thought that right after the match, the Koz reached into his bag and took out his cell phone.

    YOu’d think the guy would want to pick up his bag and go to the locker room, but instead he stayed in his chair and checked out his phone. The Koz gets the no. 1 seed, Kudla, in next round so that should be a good test for the no. 473-rd player.

  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 10:58 am

    What’s Muguruza doing in her time off ? Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, that’s what.

    Uptick for Garbine 🙂

  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 11:04 am

    And Cibulkova has retired – not a terrific surprise but she’ll be missed. Always an entertaining player and maybe the smallest of any top ranked player in today’s tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Glad Koz got win. He’s worked harder.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Tsitsipas proving a lot past few tournaments. A win on nemesis FAA, a win on Medvedev. He’s been doing better. He was premature in going after the big three and has done better trying to get bragging rights for the next gens.

    I still think he was wrong to try to rally the troops to go after the big three, and hope he learned the lesson of “butter them up then beat them silly” – that’s the Nadal and Djok and Federer method.

    The Tsitsipas Medvedev rift is stupid. Why do they hate each other? Petty. Shows it’s not just the WTA with cold handshakes at net but these two.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Yeah Garbin…ugh. Maybe get a coach. She’s committed to going nowhere.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Like I said and I think facts speak for themselves, when you are a player with Instagram you no longer need to be at your best or commit to the sport. You can just be a fellow traveler and live off past glory. Muguruza is a hall of fame first ballot. She’s also wasting best years of her playing life.

  • Hartt · November 12, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Regarding Cibulkova’s retirement, the WTA has a nice piece about her.
    https://www.wtatennis.com/news/1493848/wta-exit-interview-cibulkova-pens-new-chapter-with-retirement-announcement-new-memoir

    She has just published a memoir, “Tennis is My Life.”

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