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.


  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Andrew – all players have IGs these days – I think they have to. I’m no great fan of Garbine’s but maybe she just wanted to get away for a while and climb a mountain – why not ? Better than striking poses on a beach IMO.

    The reason Muguruza’s tennis has gone south is possibly just as much of a mystery to her as it is to anyone else. These things happen. Perhaps she can patch things up with Conchita.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Players don’t need the game anymore. The obsession with tennis is gone. It died as Instagram took off. Serena is your last super champ, and not just because of injuries, but because players don’t need the game.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Even Kournikova, as a dubs specialist, gave more to the game. She would have no doubt wilted in this area of double lives, where players spend an immense amount of time maintaining their marketing image.

    This era will lead to ugly episodes. Mostly I believe we’re in for many more one or a few hit wonders. Some players will get a few slams, many more will be ground up by their marketing demand.

    I am super negative on the impact of non reality reality on players.

    I hope some players recognize that they aren’t their image.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Major month for Tsitsipas, to beat two guys he had never beaten before, major mental victories and this should pave the way for Tsitsipas to win his first major in 2020. If Tsitsipas fails to win a major next year I will play a tournament with a Tsitsipas style wig and headband.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Mats Wilander said if the player does not treat each match like life and death, he/she will not stay at the top. I highly doubt McEnroe, Borg or Connors would use Instagram if it was around in the 70s.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 12, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I think you guys are making way too much of the effect Social Media has on tennis players. You can’t use it on the court–it’s still just tennis–so what makes a player great has nothing to do with Instagram. McEnroe and Vitas and Borg all did drugs when they played, at least Mac and Vitas did, I’d think that would be a more negative vice than using IG. It’s just a diversion.

  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Andrew – the players who know they are not their image are the ones who’ll win things. Non reality doesn’t persevere. Without the game, who are they ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Dan, cocaine is actually a performance enhancing drug. It makes a player more alert, more sharp. This has been scientifically proven. One former player told me a top American (wouldn’t name) used to put cocaine into his white wristbands.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Pete Sampras would never use instagram either, he was happy to be “just a tennis player.”

  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Scoop – I think everyone would have been on IG in previous eras. People use what’s there.

    Can you imagine McEnroe on Twitter ?

    We’re actually mainly talking about women – and the few who are marketed for their glamour etc. Difficult to say how much this, ultimately, damages their performance and potential – the need to keep up appearances and keep pushing their image via social media. And careers were destroyed before Instagram – we all know that.

  • Hartt · November 12, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    With all this discussion about social media I decided to look at IG for some Canadian players. As you might expect, Milos rarely posts and Genie posts a lot. Although, to be fair to her, she pokes fun at herself in her latest post, showing her falling during a doubles match, and asking who would like to play doubles with her.

    Felix, Shapo and Bianca post occasionally. Felix sort of does his bit by liking posts by the other players.

    So outside of Genie, none of these players post regularly. I wonder how many tennis players actually do.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    there has to be a few top 100 players who do not use IG.

  • catherine · November 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    We see IGs/tweets which on-line sites think are the most interesting. Fans seem to spend a fair bit of time following their faves but social media isn’t the place to look if you want to find out really interesting stuff about a player’s true feelings. Very rarely do you get a glimpse of the down side. So it’s a bit of a con really. I’d sometimes like to know what’s happening to someone who isn’t doing well but they aren’t going to tell the whole world, not being completely stupid. Naomi did a bit of that but I imagine she won’t repeat it. Kerber never comments on her losses and often doesn’t post anything, other than endorsement news, for weeks. Which is why her drama queen tweet to Bianca was so obviously PR.

    Serena is very much in control of her social media.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Maybe, Dan might be right, maybe this is small potatoes with the social media overload, and that the fact of so many female champions is kind of a return to the early 1990s, when the men’s tour was sorting itself out while Graf, Navratilova, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, Seles were dominating. I tend to be shocked today when a few players admit they see the social media as something they do also, like a profession and side business (aka a second job). They won’t accept any criticism but are glad to talk about it as well as their insatiable “followers”. I think it’s quite a different side business than say an actual business because the business is self absorbing, total image. And it’s quite involved too.

    I subscribe to the Wilander model.

    What happens when the Instagramming goes south? Like, as they age etc? Will it be so much fun, is the trolling worth it?

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Catherine, your question is the most interesting of all. Do the players need the sport, or do they just use it to get other things they want, aka fame, marketing deals, etc. Some players have millions or hundreds of thousands of followers who they produce “content” for – you no longer need a magazine subscription and to hope they do a feature on your favorite player, you can just find them on Instagram where they sell you glamour.

    Anyways. Pete Bodo on that Tennis Magazine podcast with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi was very negative on social media and its impact with respect to sports coverage. Basically it cuts out the sports writers in some ways. Fans don’t need the latest match report, they just need a wave from their player.

    Yeah I am harsh on this. I’m AMAZED the WTA sells glam over shotmaking. Nike it is not. I don’t watch Muchova because she’s a beauty (I did watch some Minella and Kirilenko and thought they were beauties! Goerges to my eye is a good looking player too).

    I watch Muchova because I might never see those kinds of shot combinations from a player ever again, especially on the WTA tour. In fact one of my relatives would make a point commenting on who was good looking and who wasn’t and I was like the ball doesn’t care. The ball doesn’t care if the player is considered good looking or not. This is about how good you are. Everything else doesn’t matter.

    Just hit the d##n ball.

  • Harold · November 12, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Cant these people walk and chew gum? How much freaking time do you think their SM takes? 90% probably have a friend or assistant handling their SM.

    Bouchard realized shes not getting back to number 27, let alone 7, so shes pimping herself out with bikini shots all over the world. She probably takes her sisters IG pics, and vice versa.. Tsitsipas seems to fancy himself a philosopher, so maybe hes

    Kenin, and Konta seem to “ like” anything by a fellow pro..think they just seem either nice, or want to be liked.

    Cocaine might bea performance enhancing drug if all you do is two lines before a match, or the 5th set..if youre at Studio 54 all night doing it, its recreational

  • Harold · November 12, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    As far as chasing endorsement money, real easy to sit behind a keyboard and judge..imagine everyone here in the position to make money in a small window of time, wouldnt turns it down.

    Look at Agassi, was a top shill in his day. Nike, Canon, all kinds of endorsements, when was the last time, he was offered a commercial? They forget you very fast, most people would chase dollars… Would they chase so much that it ran into training, I doubt the top players have that problem. Theyre calling the shots,

  • Harold · November 12, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Agassi is actually a bad example. He lost the French Open because his wig was shedding, and was afraid to fix it( according to his book)

    Was it worth it? If he looked as bald as Philip Agassi he wasn’t selling denim tennis shorts with pink tights

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Fair enough. The player’s platform is tennis, not social media. If the tennis suffers, the exposure decreases, and social media implodes. I hope players recognize this. Some players we talk about frequently experienced a media blackout following several years of poor tennis performance and were so desperate to get press that they looked for it wherever they could find it.

    Yeah it is easy to take a potshot at the tour from my comfy not so comfy perch as standard tennis fan. But Bodo, other reporters aren’t so thrilled either with the social media rise, mostly because players no longer need standard tennis features. Even Sports Illustrated, which used to reliably put out a feature in the printed magazine to memorialize slam winners, has iced this paltry coverage.

    Everyone is welcome to playing up Tennis Tonic but…seriously its writing is poor. I think Bodo is right.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    There is so much media coverage, TV coverage, twitter by media, it’s hard for a reporter to find a new story, a new angle, almost everything is already reported. The access to the players is very limited, a few minutes after the match. It’s hard for a reporter to dig up something like Serena doesn’t pay Mouratoglou or Bajin was dating Zhuk or Federer poached Zverev from Apey. Or Bouchard allegedly had intimate relations with a number of players. Or this former top 125 player has to give tennis lessons to help support his career. Or that tennis father made his daughter jog 20 miles home after a loss as a teen. Tough to break stories these days.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Right Harold, anyone gets five or six figures slapping them in the face for a day or two of work is a fool not to take it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 12, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Marcelo Rios is definitely running his IG page. Safin too. Most of them are for sure.

  • Hartt · November 12, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Dominic Thiem won a fabulous match vs Novak Djokovic. Both played very well and you were on the edge of your seat wondering who would win. Even though I was rooting for Dominic I thought Novak would win until the last shot.

    Dominic proved he can play very well on a fast indoor court, first beating Fed and then prevailing in today’s tough match against Novak. Maybe he is the younger player who can take on the big 3.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Scoop, that’s part of what Pete Bodo was talking about on the podcast for with Pantic and Falconi, that in some ways this new social media we allows players to put up invisible walls between themselves and the world beyond the bubble. To Bodo’s credit, he said players gain and lose by doing this – they get control of the story about them and get to dictate what I or we as the public see, but it’s also a dodge because “players have media obligations”, meaning their stature in the sport depends on a give and take with reporters from their countries, U.S. media including you, Dan, Bodo, Tignor, Koenig, Gilbert etc etc etc.

    I think Bodo has a good point. And I also think that Noah Rubin must come across a lot of locker room talk or players that let their guard down and listen, you know what (etc etc etc). All of that’s lost when the smokescreen is up.

    Believe it or not Instagram etc is a screensaver. It’s an image only and it’s what the players convey. It’s not what’s there in a match or between the lines or beyond the lines.

    We may watch a Tsitsipas original of a country. But that means nothing.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Thiem is becoming best of 3 set warrior. For what it’s worth the big 3 dominance at best of three sets tournaments and Masters is officially over. They own the slams but everyone else has the Masters.

  • Andrew Miller · November 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Ok overstated. Their Masters dominance is over.

  • catherine · November 13, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Did Kiki make it to cheer on Dominic ? These two are going to become the First Couple of tennis before long.

    The top 3 are becoming tetchy – I think we’ll see more of this in coming months as the media start pushing them and the losses start coming. 2020 will be a turning point.

    My view – reporters can always get good stories if they try but it’s possible we’ll see the best stories from outside the game because writers who are just passing by don’t have any bother about losing access, or having it in the first place, and most likely won’t be returning. Bodo always relied on his access and that’s why he feels so strongly. His type of coverage is gone forever.

    Tennis tonic is amusing so long as you understand that half the stories are not to be believed and the writing needs translating into English.

  • catherine · November 13, 2019 at 1:12 am

    The WTA site, in design and content, seems aimed at the understanding level of the average 10 year old, and that’s possibly insulting to ten year olds.

  • Hartt · November 13, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Catherine,I hope you are right that 2020 will be a turning point. It is time for new winners at Slams as well as Masters.

    Thiem had to play at an incredibly high level to beat Djokovic, but he managed it. This is what the other young players need to do.

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Thiem looked like a Macci guy out there. He “hit harder” after set one, which Djokovic said too. Enjoyed that Del Potro like performance. Sometimes that’s what it takes, a modest change in strategy. Do whatever you’re doing with more Kmph or mph. Djokovic was still in it, always got to stay with the Djoker if you want to have a prayer of beating him.

  • Hartt · November 13, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Catherine, Kiki was not in London. Thiem’s father said she was in Paris, with obligations following the Fed Cup title. Those must have been quite the celebrations, because apparently Bennetteau managed to break his leg!

  • catherine · November 13, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Yes – I saw the team meeting Macron and I imagine there were jollifications to follow which probably involved imbibing French vintages (it is the off season for the girls now)- I hope Bennetteau recovers quickly. Did he fall down some stairs ? I expect Kiki is in London by now.

  • catherine · November 13, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Down they go – Berdych is retiring at 34. Who’s next ?

  • Hartt · November 13, 2019 at 8:43 am

    As I mentioned before, I get a lot of tennis info from podcasts. There is such a wide variety, from popular ones, such as the Tennis Podcast, which are entertaining, to more obscure ones.

    I have been listening to interviews on “Cracked Interviews,” which features many people I haven’t even heard of. I am probably one of the few people on the planet who follow Brayden Schnur’s career, and they have a 55 minute interview with Brayden!

    I also enjoy Gill Gross’ “Monday Match Analysis” that is on YouTube most weeks. He does a thorough analysis of a big match (usually played the preceding Sunday)and I have learned a lot. He has big bragging rights for predicting, before the start of the Next Gen tourney, that Sinner would beat de Minaur in the final. After the match he did an analysis of the the match and what makes Sinner such a terrific player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:00 am

    I like how Thiem’s box with Massu is very emotional and positively enthusiastic, it pumps Thiem up. The old coach sat there like a dead mannequin. This could be the difference maker for Thiem to go higher and win a major.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Bodo does not have any special access now, he’s not friendly off court with any current players to my knowledge and his only access is the press conferences and watching the match live, as we did together at Kyrgios vs Coric in Miami. He used to actually be friendly with players like Becker off court, he built relationships with players. Tough to do that now, the players are so isolated. I am friends with a few but do lose touch with them for periods or they don’t reveal much. Tough business. Their status is never safe, one bad two month stretch and it’s panic time.

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

    De Minaur made mistakes he made against Federer in the Sinner match. Someone has to work with De Minaur to help him prepare for the biggest slam and regular season matches. He serves more predictably in the biggest matches and also for whatever reason goes right to player strengths usually a forehand, or right to them and gets passed. It’s a totally avoidable error.

    Sinner is good but not seeing anything haven’t seen before. Another super tall guy with a fluid game. Next!

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Massu has given something to Thiem. Maybe the give em hail component. Massu was legendary for being able to withstand a players best, better than G. Canas? I’m surprised Thiem can handle the pace on this court. Has he shortened up on his groundies?

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Berdych retires! Wow. Sorry to see it. Some of the game’s cleanest groundstrokes. Makes me wish he had slammed before retirement. A guy who never let in the crowd. He had promise when he silenced the crowd on way to his Paris Masters title. Arguably that ferocious quality seldom reappeared after that moment.

    Berydch…textbook game. But no emotional IQ.

  • Hartt · November 13, 2019 at 9:22 am

    One big difference in Thiem’s game is that he is standing closer to the baseline, even being inside the baseline. That, coupled with his power, takes time away from his opponent big time. If he continues to do that on hard courts, he will be very tough to beat.

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Sports Illustrated essentially cut out tennis from the print edition. Used to be able to count on a summary of the finals and the winners from slams. We will be lucky to get a long form feature. Just because there’s a lot of media on tennis doesn’t mean it’s good. The podcasts are good and I agree with Hartt those have some good stuff in them.

    Some documentary features are decent. Some reporters are solid, I like Chris Clarey a lot, Doug Robson, I have enjoyed some of the Canadian reporting, which is now flourishing! I think we talked about this before, as Bouchard, Raonic, Pops made their moves Canadian reporters expanded coverage? And that came in handy as the next group of Andreescu, Shapovalov, Felix AA came along.

    Anyhows. Coverage stinks now. There’s more than ever but it’s not more good coverage than ever. It’s just more snippets. Canadian coverage from what I can tell is good. The British coverage around Wimbledon is fun. Some local features around tournaments are good.

  • Hartt · November 13, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Andrew, I don’t agree that Sinner is just a super tall player with a fluid game. He has huge power, and as he gains muscle, that could even increase. But what impressed me the most was how calm and composed he was throughout the matches. The kid has ice in his veins, he plays the big points so well.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Andrew, Some of the great players look ordinary at first glance and their specialness does not stand out. Young Djokovic, young Osaka, young Ostapenko, even Gauff has no shortage of critics but look at her WTA record. Sinner is similar. But he gets the results and he’s doing something amazing even if it does not look amazing from the TV view. Julian Knowle, the long time doubles player from Austria, hit with young Sinner about four years ago and was so impressed he asked the kid Sinner for a photo together – because he knew the kid had something special and would become a pro player. Medvedev 3-4 years ago didn’t look like anything special, even the TV experts never touted him to become a top 5 player. They all missed it on Medvedev.

  • catherine · November 13, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Scoop – problem with Bodo’s type of working, being friendly with players, it can blow up if you say something wrong, fall out even in a small way. They can be super sensitive. Leaves you high and dry and looking a bit embarrassed. Also, can be compromising. I disliked reading a lot of his stuff because I felt it left him exposed. But I was probably in the minority. His original mentor, Shep Campbell on Tennis mag, encouraged Peter down that path.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Massu won two gold medals in 2004 Olympics, singles and doubles, the only medals in Chile’s Olympic history. Canas had a similar ranking but no major achievements other than beating Federer twice in a row in Miami and Indian Wells. Massu was better than Canas on the court and by coaching results I’d say Massu has shown superior results there too. Canas had okay success with Gabashvili, getting him to around top 50.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Berdych was one of the great robot players, mechanically perfect, big easy heavy power, some great wins in majors and vs top guns but never showed the emotional adrenaline that could have taken him higher. Never really interacted with the crowds and generated energy from the crowds. Can’t think of a better robot player than Berdych. He became vulnerable in the recent years, even blowing a 61 51 lead vs Nishioka in Indian Wells two or three years ago, and lost the match in 3. That was an omen the end was near.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Sports Illustrated went down the drain many years ago. Used to love it back in 70s and 80s. If they could go back to those days and use those format fonts and feature types and report writing, it could thrive IMO. But now it’s all big pictures and pushing political agendas. Can’t even be bothered to look at a free copy. SI became mainstream media with agendas to push on the public, went from riches to rags.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Hartt, I saw him at US Open, beat a veteran in qualies, tight finish 76 in the third and he was so cool and composed and it looked easy for him and his reaction after the big win was like it was a practice set!

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Scoop, beyond Wertheim SI doesn’t do tennis! Wertheim does all the work. Doesn’t even look like they let him do the standard print features, such as coverage of the Miami/Indian Wells crowns. Some Wimbledon stuff. Fifty parting thoughts, which is a great feature. Otherwise NOTHING. No piece where it took actual reporting, like watching a match, talking with ten people, etc.

    I liked their coverage in early 2000s. Then SI went something like many, many years (five? six?) before putting the Nadal Federer 2008 Wimbledon final on the cover (which I am sure almost didn’t happen).

    Maybe CocoG or Anisimova or Kenin or Serena will get back on it if she gets 24, 25 slams.

  • Andrew Miller · November 13, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Medvedev…I knew he was very good when I saw him and I also thought he was a jerk. I still do. And he’s still good. Just far better now than he was (which was pretty devastatingly consistent).

    Sinner just not striking me and likely because he is yet another big guy with a big game. Big guys with big games do well as in top ten and higher. Just not take over the game types. I think Del Potro was better.

    Del Potro is the best tallest player I’ve seen. He wasn’t smooth like Berydch, just more fierce. More of a commander. More of a kinstinct assasin.

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