We do need to take a moment and say congrats to Sock.
He’s become a pretty familiar face on tour, under some bigger lights. He’s been there for a while in doubles, where he’s won a major, an Olympic gold medal (in mixed) among other highlights.
His singles’ play is maturing now. The write-up about his Paris-Bercy win pays a huge tribute to his change of mind in that match (which really relates to his bigger picture for sure) where he quit chirping at his box, didn’t let points or games bother him, laid-off the big emotional swing and let his game do the talking.
He’s developing that BH pass (CC and DTL), he can certainly come to net and create pressure, his serve can be big and he has a splendid variety there with the kick serve, not to mention his FH is one of the bigger weapons in the men’s game.
He won Aukland and Delray Beach earlier this year. The rest of the year involved some nice QF appearances in Miami ( v Nadal), Atlanta, Stockholm, and Basel; and SF appearances in IW (v Federer), Washington D.C., and Houston (U.S. Clay champs). He did enough just enough to hang around the top 20s, where he’s been for over two years, before making his brilliant run in Paris last week, which coincided with the tennis suicide of a handful of other players whom Sock leap-frogged to grab the final spot in London next week.
Let’s not forget his decent showing in Laver Cup action, either, where he was very solid in doubles throughout, and played Nadal in a classic, decided in the third set TB for Nadal 11-9.
What’s always held him back is the bit of one-sided tennis (weak BH) and his chirping, general immaturity. He has a big game and some genuine variety, that touch of class that could get him into deeper and deeper draws.
Even a few of his wins in Paris, vs. Edmund, for instance, where he stared death in the face, down 1-5 in the decider before coming back and winning in a TB; vs. Verdasco, down a set and winning, and in the final down a set before confidently taking care of business in a match he should win. Easier said than done. Well done, Mr. Sock. This kind of heady nerves in some adversity looks good from the American.
We’ll look at the WTF field soon, especially once the groups are announced. I suspect Nadal will make the trip now; not sure what that report was from his Dr., published as either some kind of freedom of information act move or a little PR from the man, the myth.
But, again, hats off to my fellow American who may have turned the corner here, able to put a big push at the end of the year to put himself into some pretty select company. And, as we know: you have to be in it to win it.