INDIAN WELLS – In 2016, When Jack Sock announced his ‘Let’s Rally, America’ campaign, an American tennis star was born.
In a sport that often falls short in the marketing of its charismatic stars, Sock became a breath of Midwestern fresh air with his mock presidential campaign.
Declared Sock: “I’ve spent my time on the courts. Now I’m ready to be President.”
If only he’d pulled out a “Make American Tennis Great Again” hat. Tell me you wouldn’t have bought one of those Friday.
Sock is far too young to aspire to the White House, but he can lead the ATP tour into the future – especially if his winning form continues Saturday afternoon in the BNP Paribas semi-finals against Swiss great Roger Federer.
The 24-year-old Nebraska native is just the kind of player America has been waiting for. He hits big shots in big moments. He’s emotive, engaging, brash, and he’s got some dance moves he’s not afraid to bust out. (Watch at the end of the clip below for his slick moves after closing out No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori yesterday).
Fellow Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey may have better playing resumés so far, but Jack Sock is a guy who can fill the seats.
He’s building a legacy as a player who competes, who is clutch, all while being an good sport. Check out this clip from the Hopman Cup last January in Perth, Australia to see for yourself (yes, it’s only an exhibition event, but the point stands).
Sock comes across as a simple guy having a lot of fun out there, and that’s something seriously lacking at the top of the ATP scene.
But he’s not without higher aspirations. One night out on the town with some fellow American players, I’m told he said, “If you want bottle service, ya gotta get the contracts”.
Those friends now call him … ‘Contracts’.
Will Sock ever crack the Top 10? He’s currently at a career high of No. 18 on the ATP Tour singles charts and will rise one spot with his effort at Indian Wells. If he can beat Federer, he would reach No. 15, jumping over his good buddy and fellow Brash Brother Nick Kyrgios.
He has a forehand that hurts to look at; the spin he puts on it is in Rafa-revolutions territory. After he and Canadian Pospisil defeated the Bryan brothers to win the Wimbledon doubles title in 2014, they said he hit that shot so hard, it was like an overhead. The ball flat-out jumps off his racquet, making him tricky as all can be to play. He has feel at the net to spare, as evidenced by his great success on the doubles court.
Will Sock ever go deep in a Grand Slam? His backhand is an issue, and his service returns can go south. But the guy has an awful lot of game, and he competes.
He’ll need all of that today going up against Federer on Stadium 1.
Will we see another victory dance from Jack Sock this afternoon? Tennis fans across America are ready to get up and join him, if he can pulls off the upset.