An interview with: JACK SOCK
Saturday, September 1, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How hot was it out there?
JACK SOCK: How hot was it? Pretty hot. I don't know the exact temperature, but it was pretty hot.
Q. Were you affected out there by the heat? Were you cramping?
JACK SOCK: No, I wasn't cramping. Just he played a lot better in the fourth set and took advantage of it.
Q. You had two medical timeouts. They were working on your forearm, was it?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, my forearm. It gets tight when I play a lot of tennis. I have been playing three events here and practiced a lot before I got here, and so there is a lot of wear and tear on it and it gets a little tight.
Q. Do you feel any added pressure with Roddick retiring? A lot of people pointing to you as the next American hope maybe under the Isner group a little bit. Does that put any pressure on you?
JACK SOCK: No, I'm not the only American coming up. There's seven, eight others, so there is no pressure really on me.
Q. You're getting right to the cusp of the top 200 I think with this run here, but you still managed to play really tight with a guy just outside of the top 10 for three sets at least. Do you feel you're closer to those guys now than you ever have been?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I feel good about my game and my physicality and overall like professionalism and my mental. Everything in my game, how I'm hitting the ball, everything feels better now and definitely closer to the next level.
Q. What do you need to do to get even closer?
JACK SOCK: Everything. Get better at everything.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about the experience this year here, you know, playing some pretty good tennis, packing the stands everywhere you went, getting lots of reactions from the fans. Your feelings about all that stuff.
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, it's incredible. I have said it in every interview: In New York, there is not a better place to play tennis. New York for the US Open is definitely the best possible scenario to play tennis in front of, and home crowd and everything with the fans. I mean, that match today, the energy from the crowd was unbelievable. I love playing on that court. It was very intimate. The crowd's ‑‑ the fans were right there into the match. It was a great feeling.
Q. Did you talk about the injuries already?
JACK SOCK: Yeah.
Q. So the game at 4‑All in the third set, you're up Love‑40; I think it was a pretty crucial turning point.
JACK SOCK: Yeah. Love‑40, I had a second serve. Hit the tape on the return; hit a good serve at 15‑40; I just missed a forehand on the last one. I think he kind of rode the momentum a little bit and took the tiebreak and then ran away with it in the fourth.
Q. You're playing doubles here with a guy who played four years of college tennis. You obviously turned pro without going to college. Can you talk about sort of why that was the right route for you in sort of comparing the two options for people who might be weighing on the other?
JACK SOCK: Let's I hope it's the right one. I'm still 200 in the world, so let's hope it was the right decision. But, yeah, that's what I was most comfortable with. I felt ready to play. I love competing and traveling and playing tennis, obviously, so I think it was the right thing for me. I mean, everyone is different. I love playing on teams and I think I would have really, really enjoyed playing college tennis, but I think I would have wanted to go for four years. The opportunities last year compared to four years from now, who knows? Probably not the same, I'm guessing, so I think it was the right move for me.
Q. Rising in the rankings on the ATP is tricky business. Can you just talk about your process, your career? You had a match with Andy last year, if I recall correctly, the mixed win. It was a good tournament here for you. Do you feel you're trending in the right direction? Do you see some problems? What are your thoughts about your process?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, I think definitely going in the right direction now. I mean, this tournament last year was great for me, getting my first Grand Slam win and then winning in mixed pretty unexpectedly. Had a rough fall. Actually think the injury I had after Indian ‑‑ or I mean throughout the spring, the surgery I had was actually almost a blessing for me. I think it was kind of good for me to kind of start over and regroup and actually get on the right track to start. Things were going fast, and I was able to kind of step back and definitely get in a lot better shape than I was in and kind of improved my game there. I kind of had an off season in the late spring and early summer before I started playing tournaments. I started playing in Newport, so for about a month and a half before that I was in Vegas training and getting ready for this type of tennis. It's been a really weird first year, but I definitely think I'm going in the right direction now.
Q. In Vegas, were you training with Reyes?
JACK SOCK: Yeah.
Q. What's it like to train with that guy?
JACK SOCK: He's the most incredible man I know. I think he's one of a kind and really inspires you every day when you go in there. I mean, every time I go to Vegas, I really look forward to working out with him.
Q. You sound disappointed. Are you?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, no one likes to lose. I had my chances, but I just didn't take advantage.
Q. The last set aside, you were right there with Almagro. He's one of the top players. What's separating you right now from just a player of that caliber?
JACK SOCK: I mean, I think obviously it was a good match and I had my opportunities. I think it was just a couple points here and there that changed it. In that third set for sure not converting on his break points and then him kind of taking advantage and riding the momentum. But obviously I felt like I was in the match the whole time and definitely had chances. He made a couple more balls when he needed to. I missed a couple of shots that I can't in the future if I want to beat a guy like that.
Q. You talked about the energy out there. Can you quantify that sort of home field advantage with that many people and trying to pull you past that guy?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, it was unbelievable. I mean, playing on Ashe last year was insane having that crowd. But I was also playing Andy, another American, so it's tough to have the crowd pulling for you. When you play a foreign guy on like that small of a court and that intimate of a court, it was unbelievable. I mean, pretty much every point you win it feels like you just won the match. So it was a lot of fun to play.
Q. Does it lift your game? Are you playing above yourself in that setting today at times?
JACK SOCK: No, I mean, I put in the work to try to play as well as I can and try to play every point as hard as I can and win the matches. So, I mean, I love playing in front of crowds. I love playing in front of people and that energy definitely, you definitely get an adrenaline rush and maybe raise your game and hit some crazy shots that you may not hit usually. But in general, like I said, I think my game is going in the right direction, and hopefully I can produce that tennis more.
Q. When you think of tennis in America, hot beds of tennis, maybe Florida or California, talk a little bit about Nebraska, which I guess claim Andy and yourself. What's tennis like in Nebraska?
JACK SOCK: I don't even know. I mean, I haven't actually like played out of there since I was eight or nine, but in my off time now I still go back to Lincoln and I'll hit with the guys in the Nebraska team. I mean, Nebraska is not ‑‑ I wouldn't say a huge tennis team. Everybody revolves around the Huskers and football; definitely not a tennis town. But people are playing and, yeah, definitely hasn't produced the most up‑and‑coming tennis players in the country.