Jan/18

10

Sock Could Be Worst Top 10 Player Ever

Jack Sock, the world #9, got destroyed by world #65, Peter Gojowczyk, yesterday in Auckland, 6-3, 6-3. The American who won the Paris Masters late last year and qualified for the London Masters event as one of the top 8 players still standing, put in a desultory performance against the German, who at 28 is right around his career-high ranking he achieved late last year. Sock who beat the Russian young gun, Karen Khachanov, last week at the Hopman’s Cup before suffering a hip injury against Yugita Sugita in the following match which he retired in, looked about as bad as Sock has looked on a tennis court in the past couple of years.

It was revealed last night during the Tennis Channel broadcast of the match that Sock’s UTR is actually like #50. The UTR ranks a player on his last 30 matches and how he’s fared and since Sock didn’t beat a single Top 20 player on his way to winning the Paris Masters, his ATP ranking is artificially high. Tracy Austin, announcing the match on Tennis Channel, had no words she said to describe Sock’s lack of effort last night. Maybe last week’s injury has derailed Sock’s training, but he looked doughy in the legs and mid-section and didn’t serve and volley once that I saw. Sock’s coach, or at least his coach when he made the run late last year, former USTA junior development coach, Jay Berger, was nowhere to be in sight. A coach I didn’t recognize was in Sock’s box as was his girlfriend, a college student obviously on furlough.

Last week, Britain’s Daily Mail, showed a flurry of pictures of Michaela, the girlfriend, looking bored as Sock trained in Perth. In typical British purple prose, the Mail reported:

“And while Jack Sock’s girlfriend is usually one of his biggest supporters, the American stunner appeared bored as he trained at Perth Arena on Thursday.

Michala Burns did little to show her enthusiasm as she watched her beau work up a sweat.”

To me, Sock looks disinterested, out of shape, and doesn’t seem to grasp what John McEnroe tried to shout into his head during a Laver Cup match last year when he told Sock, essentially, you’re 25 years old and you’ve got to get a hold on your career and stop losing these close matches to top players. Well, Sock went down to Gojowczyk yesterday and hopefully he doesn’t have to face Jordan Thompson in the first round of the Australian Open that starts Monday. Who would’ve thought it, but the 25 year old Ryan Harrison, ranked no. 43 and considered for so long to be a drop out in the higher echelons of pro tennis, is actually looking better now than his once-high-flying compatriot, Jack Sock.

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35 comments

  • catherine · January 10, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Michaela will be back on campus soon I predict. She’ll find it more fun there.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Sock is obviously in love and love is his priority right now ahead of his career. It’s hard to do wind sprints and court drills when your girlfriend is yawning because she has nothing else to do but watch. I found it interesting that Sock’s father and brother did not sit with the girlfriend at London WTF.The new girlfriend is surely a great new addition to Sock’s personal life but for his long term tennis career it remains to be seen. Then, there is always the possibility Sock subconsciously tanked to Gojo and Sugita because he reads Tennis-prose and he is focusing only on making a deep run in a major, something he has yet to do and is constantly reminded of by Dan Stickaforkowitz :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

    But I think it’s unfairly degrading to try to label Sock as maybe the worst top ten player ever. You can’t do that. He earned his way to the top ten by earning every single ranking point and every single win that was required. Sock is a legit top ten player and the ATP ranking system shows it. It’s an exercise in futility to try to discredit Sock’s career and his outstanding accomplishments. He’s the no. 1 American for a reason. He is the best player in America right now and one of the ten best players in the world.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 10, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Sock is not even close to being one of the Top 10 players in the world. Answer me this Scoop, how can you be one of the top players in the world when last year in the slams, Sock’s record was 3-4 and he lost to Thompson twice, an Austrian named Ofner??? and Jiri Vesely. Come on, that’s not even Top 100 in the world results.

    And if a girlfriend can derail your tennis career then you’ve either got the wrong girlfriend or you’ve got very little determination.

    Sock got broken four times yesterday by Gojo and his performance was embarrassing. In the last game of the match, he challenged an out call on his serve and had walked all the way back to his chair on the other side of the net before the replay showed his serve well out. There’s a pluck and almost a disdain for the game from Sock that doesn’t befit a top player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Sock…Wimbledon champion. US Open champion. Olympic gold medal. Olympic bronze medal. Masters 1000 champion.

  • Chazz · January 10, 2018 at 10:32 am

    That match was disappointing on so many levels. I saw the second set. Anyone who watched him in Paris and London saw a guy who was locked in and appeared to be over the mental hurdles that plagued him for half of last year.

    So this match was a big step back. He looked out of shape, disinterested and mentally out of it. Every first serve return point I saw was either an ace by Gojowczyk or an error return by Sock. I had to look at the match stats to find out, and sure enough, Sock won only 3 out of 26 points returning 1st serves. That is abysmal. I really thought he had cleared a mental hurdle late last year. Now I’m not sure. This is was bad as Tiafoe’s step back. I’m expecting a 1st or 2nd round exit next week.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Chazz, I didn’t see the match but I think a loss like this can be written off as a subconscious or even outright tank. The goal is Melbourne, not Sydney or Auckland. This is basically New Haven or Hamlet Cup or Winston Salem. Sock knows when he has to peak and let’s hope and see if he’s ready to showcase his best when it matters most. Maybe the girlfriend needs to hold back and tell Sock the more matches he wins in majors the more… :)

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 10, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I think it’s unfair to be too critical of Sock at this juncture. He has achieved things that Kyrgios has not, for example. Also his priority is clearly the new gf, and it’s clear that Americans do not train hard for the Australian circuit; he’s not the only one in that regard.

    Plus his injury is a factor and it is clear Sock doesn’t trust his body when he is injured. I predict a solid third-round showing in Melbourne and he will be back on track.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 10, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Now if it’s the injury it’s unfortunate, but didn’t he play another match at Holman Cup after the injury? That makes me think the injury’s not so much a factor. To hear that the girlfriend is a priority now over Tennis tells you every thing you need to know about Jack Sock. The clock is ticking on Sock. He’s had a mediocre career. And don’t list me doubles titles. As Spadea said, Doubles is not really Tennis. What’s Sock’s best showing at a slam? 3 rd round and he’s 25!
    Please.

  • JG · January 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    what happened to Noah Rubin in first round of qualifying, lost 0 and 1 to mac mac, second round match between Tommy Paul and Tomic should be good.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Wow, 0 and 1 to Mac Mac! Noah must’ve exerted himself winning that Challenger before Aussie O too much. Or maybe he thought Mac Mac was actually Johnny Mac circa 1980.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 10, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I just think Sock needs a lot in his favor to perform well and when he is physically not fit – like Wimbledon last year, he mails it in. It’s well known the Americans do not prioritize the Aussie Open. You have to feel for Jay Berger to have to deal with a player that isn’t fully committed but Sock is who he is.

    Sock needs to commit to his fitness. Right now, he’s like early Djokovic in terms of always making injury excuses. Sock has some amazing comebacks but he’s not the greatest fighter out there; once he gets that ability to battle through the elements, he will fare better in Slams.

    Ironically remember when he made fun of Milos for pulling out of Delray last year?

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I will add that we all remember what it’s like to be young and in love – in my case, it’s been a long time so maybe I don’t!

    It’s all good to find yourselves as a person – it’s something Grigor has done in terms of gaining stability through his latest relationship. Sock needs to get to that level emotionally.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 10, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Tell Agassi Americans didn’t make the Aussie O a priority. Look, I’m not going to criticize Sock for his girlfriend choices. But this girl looks like she’s maybe more into the glamour and posting on Instagram than she is in helping Jack focus on his tennis. What 20 year old or whatever she is, leaves college to go travel with her boyfriend and basically watch him practice or play matches? What kind of life choice is that? It’s one thing if she’s 25 or like Brooklyn Decker at 20 and has a big modeling career, but I don’t think you saw Brooklyn Decker traveling the world with Roddick watching him play pro tennis when she was 20. It’s just a kind of strange thing to do.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 10, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Right my point exactly – Agassi and even Roddick were many years ago. No U.S. male does well at the Aussie Open and none of these guys seem to really focus on this part of the season, knowing they’ll be in Memphis, Long Island and Delray soon.

  • Andrew Miller · January 10, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Amusing post. I appreciate Sock. Number one USA men is a job no one wants.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Dan would you rather have won a Wimbledon doubles title or a Shanghai singles title? An Olympic gold medal in doubles or a singles title in Indian Wells? Come on, take it easy on Sock. You are too eager to stick a fork in certain players.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Wow. I didn’t know Dr Duke is a relationship guru :)

  • Chazz · January 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I’m not sure I understand the claim that American men don’t take the Australian Open seriously. They stand a far better chance at going deep there than they do in the French Open with great clay court players on tour. If they don’t take the AO seriously it makes no sense.

    Back to Sock, if he did in fact tank, which seems to be what most people here and elsewhere think, the question is why? He won Auckland last year, so I would’ve thought he’d want to defend his title. Is it that he doesn’t want to work harder now that he reached the great accomplishment of being in the top 10? There are so many possible reasons.

  • Dan Markowitz · January 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    If the American men don’t take the AO seriously, they don’t really take any of the other slams too seriously either except for Qball the last two years. And if you’re asking me whether I’d win a slam doubles title or Indy Wells singles title, I’d much–its not even close–rather win an Indy Wells singles title.

    I stand by the title of this post, Sock has no business being in the Top 10 after the way he played last year, particularly after Miami. I just don’t see Sock’s game progressing much and I think its ludicrous to think he can even venture as far as a slam quarters. I’d like to be proven wrong because I like watching Sock play, but this is my estimation of his game now. He doesn’t look fit enough to play high level tennis in a slam.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 11, 2018 at 2:09 am

    What I mean is that I think it comes down to these guys are traveling all year and then they spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at home in the States. They are not getting in great work.

    Think about it, Sock trains in the offseason in Kansas City. Did you see all the video of the Euros training in Monte Carlo – Grigor, Berdych, Gasquet, others. Sock trains with Nick Monroe and Jackson Withrow. You expect him to be ready for 117 degree heat in Australia training in Kansas City with fringe pros?

    I stand by my statement that these guys don’t take this seriously because they know there are 250s coming in the States that they are more comfortable in. I don’t think it’s a smart move but that’s what they do.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 11, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Also, as Scoop would note, let’s not forget that Gojowczyk is a Newport legend!

  • Dan Markowitz · January 11, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I like Gojo, he and Kamke are two Germans, who I like watching play because they’re not big, but they really go for their shots. But watching Gojo play Haase yesterday in Auckland, you realize that Gojo hits everything flat, there’s little shape to his shots, so he can only go so far or play well on fast courts.

    American men are faring well Down Under in Aussie O Qualis. Mackenzie McDonald hasn’t dropped a set going into 3rd and final round. Kozlov has won two 3-setters and Kudla is also in final Qualis round. How about Dustin Brown winning 18-16 in 3rd set breaker to go into final round? Sad to see that Sam Groth, a Tennis-Prose favorite, is playing his final Aussie O and he lost in 1st rd qualis to Taylor Fritz.

  • Chazz · January 11, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Duke, I was unaware of their training situation pre-Australia. It makes no sense because they aren’t going deep in the French, so that leaves two slams to focus on? No wonder they find it difficult getting into the top 10!

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Americans take the Aus Open as serious as any major. They all go down and they all lay it on the line with 100% effort. The ‘Americans don’t take Australian Open seriously’ notion is flat out nonsense.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Sock trained with Monroe last year in KC and won the first event he played. So his methods do work. Again, let’s wait and see what he does in Melbourne before hatcheting his training in the off-season. He looked good in Perth playing Fed just about dead even. I think Sock is saving his best for Melbourne.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Groth is in doubles main draw with Hewitt, so still some life left in his career.

  • dan markowitz · January 11, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Scoop, you think Sock will beat Sugita in Aussie O 1st Rd. Four Americans in final round of Qualis with still three more with a chance to get to final round.

  • Chazz · January 11, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    It should be noted Sugita beat Sock in Cincy last year, 7-5, 6-4.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Sock should straight set Sugita, Dan.

  • Matty · January 12, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    I’m with you on Sock:
    Fact: He’s lost seven first round matches in a year. Good players don’t do that. Great players never do that.
    Fact: At Paris, playing his good friend Popsicle, in the first round, he was two points away from losing that match. Also, Andy, Novak, Roger, Kei, Milos & Stan were all MIA. And Rafa retired. C’mon now.
    Really, he is at best, 20 in the world, maybe just behind Sam & Isner. Anyone who hangs around the tour long enough has one week where he just can’t lose. Like Terrango, like Rublev, like Hrboty, like Francisco Gonzalez. It happens. Sock had that week in Paris.

  • Matty · January 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    I know it’s obscure, but has anyone been following Mats Moraing? He’s been destroying seeded players for the past two weeks in Thailand I & II. I saw him in Charlottsville, and even though he lost in the first round to champion Smyzek, he served and volleyed like a future champ. Watch him this year along with: Felix, Moutet, and Tpsi (sp). All Next-gen worthy…

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Matty, I never even heard of Mats Moraing. But those are solid results. He’s now on the radar.

  • Matty · January 18, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Scoop – you and everyone else were right about Sock — first round exit at AO. Predictable, pathetic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 18, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Matty, Actually I thought Sock would do better than losing to Sugita. Courier said he will still use Sock for Davis Cup but he will have to play better much better. If I was Courier I would send a strong message and drop Sock from the team and go with Sandgren HArrison and McKenzie. Sock, isner, Q Ball, Johnson could have a feeling of entitlement, they do not deserve to play Davis Cup right now because their recent results are poor.

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