Tennis Prose



Wilander’s Words of Wisdom, Are You Listening Jack Sock?

Jack Sock has plummeted from top ten in the world to a rock bottom so low, he may not even have any ATP ranking points after next week. Sock has not won a single solitary singles match this year aside from a Laver Cup exo win vs Fognini.

Sock’s nightmare year has been hampered by a thumb injury and a stunning series of bad losses to players he would have manhandled just a couple of years ago.

Sock’s seriousness and work ethic have been questioned. His practice habits have been called “unprofessional.” Sock’s monster forehand has been the foundation of his success but even that weapon is no longer producing wins.

Mats Wilander, winner of seven majors, once made a profound statement on what it takes for a player to sustain his or her lofty status: “It has to be life and death or you won’t stay there (at the top).”

Can Sock change his mindset to winning tennis matches being of “life and death” importance?

If not, how can he revive his dying or dead tennis career at age 27?


  • Andrew Miller · October 26, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Big serve, big forehand, underrated competitiveness – sure. Sock, unlike most players, earned his wildcard into the 2011 US Open and won a round, unlike most heralded juniors except this year’s surprise Brooksby, who made the US Open second round as well on the back of a superb qualies run.

    Sock is somewhat like Kyrgios in this way – when he wants to do well he does well, and when he’s scared of losing he fizzles. The difference being Sock has no backhand to fall back on, and isn’t so bitter he became a pro tennis player. But he’s subtle.

    I can’t bet against the lone wolf. Just wish he spent some time on a ball machine with his backhand or hire Stefanki who would shot it up.

    Sock isn’t anyone like the best player not to win a major etc, not close. But he is similar to star American men since Roddick’s retirement who have to make a choice. How much does he want it? Is he willing to do what Roddick said and did?

    Aka is he willing to do what Wilander said, what Scoop wrote about. Scoop nailed it.

  • Andrew Miller · October 26, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Saw a trailer for a 2013 documentary on the Williams sisters. Love the quote from Macci – this is not an exact quote by it’s close ish.

    Macci to Williams – “You know she (Venus) could be the Michael Jordan of tennis.”

    Richard Williams: “No, brother man – I got two Michael Jordans.”

  • Matty · October 28, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Sock’s playing unseeded at the Charlottesville $54,000 qualifier. I should drive down there from DC just to watch the other competitors laughing at him. He’ll know rock bottom when Seiku beats him in round 1…

  • Matty · October 28, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Btw, congrats to Sebalenka on her win this weekend. She’s so smoking hot I might have to watch women’s tennis in 2020.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 28, 2019 at 9:16 am

    If Sekou Bangoura beats Sock it’s over for Sock. 60-40 in favor of Sock. This is career match on the line for Sock.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 28, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Good to see Sabalenka dominating again.

  • Matty · October 29, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    @scoop —- Ughhhhh, scoreboard!!!!!! 3-6, 0-0 def

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 29, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Matty, Sock has zero confidence and zero heart. And zero ATP points. Biggest nosedive in history. He can’t even beat Challenger journeymen now. Unbelievable. Good win for Bangoura.

  • jg · October 30, 2019 at 10:02 am

    I was watching the match, Noah Rubin was commentating, and he thought Sock would have trouble as Bangoura gets a lot of balls back. Sock clearly has a back issue, but the guy is overweight for a professional tennis player at this level, his core probably isn’t strong enough. He is clearly out of shape, I think he expected just to blow the guy off the court, which isn’t happening at the challenger level, as Rubin said the difference in tours is not that great. The other commentator said a lot of players are comparing Socks slump to Spadeas, and the pressure was actually on Bangoura to not break the slump. Where does So k go from here, I see he’s still going to play Davis Cup ( doubles) but for singles with no ranking can you even get into a futures ? ( I’m sure the challengers will give him some wildcards but he better get fit first)

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 30, 2019 at 11:08 am

    jg, thanks for the details. This nosedive by Sock may be the worst riches to rags reversal story ever in tennis. 8 in the world to no ranking in two years. Some saw this coming in Sock’s unprofessional work ethic and lazy practices, I remember talking about this with his doubles partner Jackson Withrow in the parking lot one night in Delray Beach. He was concerned about Sock being “unprofessional” etc. Never did anyone imagine this kind of disaster for Sock though. And after all these repeated losses to ham and eggers like Bangoura and others I can’t even remember their names, the concerning part is Sock is not able to improve. Surely he is working harder but it’s the same results. But there has to be a solution…maybe hire Spadea and Mike Russell as coaches?



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