If you were looking for a savior, he very much resembles one.
Steve Johnson and John Isner, who are both older than Sock, are ranked ahead of him at No. For a long time, Isner was hailed as the next great American player.
* * * Sock moved to Kansas City from Nebraska in fifth grade to train at the Mike Wolf Tennis Academy.
Before him, hopes were pinned on Ryan Harrison, and before that, Donald Young. At the Hopman Cup in Australia this year, for example, he hammed it up when he borrowed the line judge’s hat and sunglasses and pretended to do her job. Sock grinned beneath the wide brim as he turned around to look at the stands. Sock’s self-described “bromance” with Kyrgios began at the Rome Open last year.
But Sock has something besides his skill and youth that’s made him seem so promising: He’s an entertainer. Sock needed a doubles partner after Pospisil rolled his ankle, and he noticed that Kyrgios hadn’t signed up to play with anyone yet.
About an hour before, uptown from Kith in his suite at the swanky Omni Berkshire Place hotel, Sock had been much more at ease as he picked out his outfit. ” He settled on the white shoes, black shorts, and a white shirt — he didn’t want to show up wearing the same thing as his good friend Kyrgios, whom he guessed would be in all black.
He unpacked the clothes and two pairs of shoes Nike had sent over, laying out t-shirts and pulling crumpled paper out of boxes. Sock first broke into the top 25 last November, and Nike signed him in March of this year.
Sock, whose initial discomfort had disappeared, teased Kyrgios about his radical hairstyles. Besides personality, there’s another difference between the two: Kyrgios, who is two years younger than Sock, is surging in the rankings. But despite all of his hard work, Sock hasn’t broken his season-high ranking of 22, due to a season plagued with illness and injuries.
“Do you guys want me to move over so you can sit next to each other, or what? If you were to read the tea leaves, they might hint that the future of tennis is looking more like it belongs to an Australian than an American. Not only is it his favorite tournament, where he won as a junior and faced Roddick in 2011, but it’s taking place on the heels of his success in Rio.
They went to dinner every night, and have been each other’s best friend on the tour ever since.
With doubles, I’ve never really gone out and been like, ‘I really want to win this tournament,’ or, ‘I really want to do well in doubles this week.’ It’s more extra time on the court and to go out there and have fun. Whereas Sock has occasionally been know to fly off the handle, he’s worked hard to cut down on those instances. He would drop the next two weeks, to 41 then 42, before starting his climb to 16, where he is now.
A matching white and shiny ping pong table was set up in front of the rack of shoes.
The low buzz in the room turned into applause as Nick Kyrgios, Madison Keys, and Jack Sock paraded out of the back room.
The place was packed with trendy people wearing intricate shoes; many of the guests managed to make dad jeans look cool.