Nov/19

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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

  • catherine · November 16, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Andrew – it’s true that reporters tell the best stories to each other. And remember the libel laws in the UK are much tougher than in US and other countries so a lot of tip toeing has to go on here. Some stories are just made up. I’ve heard plenty of those.

    The Mail on Sunday has just been sued by Meghan Markle so everyone is being extra careful.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Catherine, I’m sure that’s the case, as well that some players don’t reach a fraction of potential as they have other distractions or dilemmas that go way beyond injury or not playing their game.

    Scoop’s Bouchard stories are amusing. Ill leave it at that. I’m sure there are some wild ones out there.

  • catherine · November 16, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Actually, probably not as wild as you think they are πŸ™‚

    Most young people, and tennis players are mostly young, have their ‘wild’ moments. The novelty wears off in time.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Andrew, dropped a few hints and colorful stories in the past. What can be said is that the media only covers a small fraction of the entire tennis world. A lot of things happen off the court and behind the scenes. There are a fair share of open secrets which much of the media has no access to. Some of us get lucky and learn some inside information that would make headlines if the media was not controlled. Life on tour is not reality. There are a lot of phonies in tennis, as Luis Lobo talked about in my Rios book. It’s a fascinating sub culture that millions of people are drawn to.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Catherine, freelance gossip correspondent )

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    In terms of tennis gossip, I enjoy hearing about what players are doing off the court, such as climbing a mountain, and about weddings, GFs and BFs, etc. But unless a married player is endangering his career by wrecking his marriage because of an affair, I really don’t care who is sleeping with whom.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Andrew, heard the Bouchard tales way too many times from totally unrelated sources. They have to be true. Take a look at the people she follows on Instagram. Also the “Djokovic is the Tiger Woods of tennis” by John McEnroe deserves scrutiny that it will never get.

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    For crying out loud, Bouchard is a single young woman, so why all this obsession with who she is sleeping with? Who cares?

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    At the O2 today they had a brief ceremony honouring the players who retired in the last year or so. Berdych was the last to come onto the court. He will be missed.

    It’s too bad I can’t post photos here, because I posted the famous nude Berdy pic on another site. He certainly has a beautiful athletic body. I said he could have posed for an ancient Greek statue, and someone replied yes, with a javelin instead of a tennis racquet.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Hartt, it’s not an obsession, it gets mentioned sporadically. When a female manages to achieve a substantial list of male conquests it tends to draw attention and provoke chatter. From all accounts, her volume of numbers possibly surpasses Hingis and Evert but perhaps not Wilt Chamberlain. )

  • catherine · November 16, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Those stories about Evert were, shall we say, exaggerated. Wishful thinking on some male journalists’ part ?

    I agree with Hartt – who cares ?

    I’m interested in stories which reveal things people want hidden because there’s an important issue involved. Or something unusual and interesting is happening – and actually you’ll find money is involved far more often than sex.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    And how do you know they were exaggerated Catherine and not downplayed? Jeff told you? ) Evert likes men, she likes them a lot. One of my friends in Florida told me she was eyeing him up. It’s no big deal, some people, male and female have high sex drives and are highly attracted to the opposite sex. No crime. No big deal. But let’s not bring up the Navratilova-Hollywood Henderson alleged brief interlude.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    To me it all matters. I like to be able to say: listen, this player was doing well. Now they aren’t. Why?

    Sometimes it’s: they abandoned coach, coach abandoned them, coach wanted more money, player’s family wanted more control, player man or woman is a primadonna, player thinks they are better than they are, coach too controlling etc

    Sometimes it’s: player has no backhand. Player doesn’t practice. Player coasted on their talent etc

    Sometimes: player is messed up

    Sometimes: player is hanging around bad influences, player is boy crazy, male player is too into chasing women because he’s totally insecure, too young, acting too young, unchaperoned etc

    Sometimes: player hires a mystic (see Angelica Galvandon I think? Dont quote me!!!).

    So yeah I care. Just that it’s more like ok, player isn’t serious. Serious coach said player wasn’t serious, maybe he asked for too much money or just being flat out honest that player not interested.

    Pete Bodo dislikes that players put up smokescreen but he’s also amused they bristle at tough questions because they can always just say yeah I can’t answer that one and spin yard. Or a dumb question sometimes.

    So if it’s a player lost their game, I like to know why πŸ˜‰ alternatively it makes me appreciate why say the GEMS are still playing well. Because they are happy and enjoy the life. What’s not to like?

    Unless GEMS life is at each other’s throats!!!

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Andrew, that is why I am pleased when one of my young faves is in a happy relationship; if they are happy off the court it may help how they play. But I suspect Genie’s poor results have a lot more to do with one injury after another than any interest she may have in men. πŸ™‚

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Talking about GFs, etc., Shapo and Mirjam Bjorklund both posted pics of their holiday in Athens.

    So Denis should be refreshed for Davis Cup. He will need to play well because Canada faces Italy on Monday. Captain Frank Dancevic has the flu and is not allowed near the players. Fortunately the team has Fred Fontang and Daniel Nestor as coaches. Nestor, with his decades of DC experience, should be able to assist even beyond his role as doubles coach.

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Young Jannik Sinner will face 23-year-old Sebastian Ofner in the final of his Challenger tourney. Ofner, an Austrian player, lists Wolfgang Thiem, Dominic’s father, as one of his coaches.

    Wolfgang, of course, is with Dominic in London. I wonder if Massu will be released from his DC duties long enough to help Dominic today and/or tomorrow. I guess we soon will see.

  • catherine · November 16, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Scoop – if Chris had the life a lot of gossipmongers maintain then believe me, she wouldn’t have had any time left to play tennis.

    Andrew – often we just don’t know why a player’s standard falls off, and they don’t know either. Maybe the brain is just working in a different way. Kerber didn’t know why 2017 was so awful for her – but one thing she did say later was that she had to learn that people she cared about didn’t think any less of her because she lost a few tennis matches. That anxiety maybe was in the back of her mind. Stuff like that, you can’t always get at it. Bodo tried but he’d get blown off occasionally. Players aren’t stupid.

    I loved the way Angie squashed Rothenberg at AO when he asked an impertinent question.

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Rothenberg is such a jerk he should be squashed!

    Matthew Willis tweeted that he was blocked by Rothenberg and received many congratulations, including people who wrote that they had blocked Rothenberg.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Maybe I should reconsider Instagram. It’s a way for players such as Bjorklund to telegraph to other players etc or the world at large hey look at me and Shapovalov. Puts power back in hands of whoever is good at this stuff.

    I am tough on the players but sometimes they face the worst stuff. As Scoop said tennis is a community and it has everything in it – misfortune (abuse, addiction, illness). Jelena Dokic had probably one of worst tennis parent issues in tennis history. Other players generally female have predatory coaches. There was the odd saga one of strangest ever of M Shaughnessy, the bizarre story of Oudin’s mother (kind of wrecked Oudin’s career, never got close to another slam breakthrough after 2009). Tomic, who plays tennis to penalize his dad.

    All sorts of stuff. So as much as it’s all about what takes place within the lines, it’s not. The sport can hurt players and it can also save them.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Hartt, your young faves may change it up πŸ™‚ That’s because they’re human. I think that’s Scoop’s point, the player world or tennis itself has a lot in it. Beyond the drama on court there’s drama off it as well. And as happy as Shapo is maybe Bjorklund is even happier because she gets a status boost (and she’s playing better year over year, which helps).

    I read the piece on The Sun from this year, on Djokovic and the rumors, and it may well be true. Some men play fast and loose with the term “friend”, but some of the women around Djokovic seemed to be using his celebrity to boost their own. Hard to tell what the truth of any of it is, other than Djokovic might want to behave himself a little better. If anything because this hurts “the Djokovic brand”. Or out of basic dignity and respect for his so.

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    To be fair to Bjorklund, she had lot of photos of the Parthenon, etc., and you had to look for the one pic of Shapo. He just had one Athens pic, and that was of him and Mirjam.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Bjorklund gets more “press” for a player here than anywhere πŸ˜‰ on her playing stats, best I can say is she’s improved her ranking significantly year ovwr year but doesn’t have a prayer yet of making a slam qualies draw. Her best “move” has been the play to join Team Shapo πŸ˜‰

  • Hartt · November 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Andrew, regarding Novak, not respect just for his son but for his wife and daughter as well.

  • Jon King · November 16, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Scoop, you cracked me up with the Evert story. About 10 years ago we rented a condo across from her academy and would work out there. She was a huge flirt but nothing wrong with that!!

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Right Catherine, Evert was a nun off the court and fully focused on her game. )

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Yeah I don’t want to play too much with rumors. But I do know that the books of the past talked a lot about a lot, and the tours change but human dynamics don’t. I’m a little worried about the Instagram era but maybe overblown. It’s just too new world for me. Then again I’m sure it has its uses, and if a player gets sponsorships this way that helps them and their families. Brave New world, but same old world.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 16, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    This Bjorklund girl is evoking more chatter than Halep, Venus and Isner combined )

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    If T-P does Bjorklund feature
    – it will be the most press Bjorklund will have gotten for years I’d imagine
    – it is likely to go viral among Bjorklund watchers whoever they may be
    – probably better use of TP features πŸ™‚
    – even though this comes from me, fan of Dan Kosakowski of one handed backhand fame, and Jarmere Jenkins, who once flipped over a net he tried to jump over and is now Serena’s hitting partner.

  • Andrew Miller · November 16, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Swedish players that deserve TP visibility: the brothers Ymer. They are good players. I’m excited Ymer the younger may have a chance (?) to work on his volleys with Edberg. I’m glad the Ymers pay tribute to their elder Swedish brethren! Where’s Mats on this?

  • catherine · November 17, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Scoop – might be a good idea to remember that Chris is still alive and may not appreciate the comments you’re making about her, particularly the last one. She has children too. A lot of guys like to pass these stories around but it doesn’t mean they’re even nearly true.

    I was around in the time Chris was playing and at her peak and her game was certainly the most important part of her life. Otherwise she would have been nowhere.

    Obviously the off season.

  • Matty · November 20, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Back in the day when I was working out at Saddlebrook, we were watching a two-time Australian winner work out really hard. Word around the place was she’d frequently call up her male hitting partners at nighttime for some dalliances…

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