Yesterday at the French Open, an American with a tongue-twister of a name faced off against Rafael Nadal.
But wait, don’t write off Jack Sock. This 22-year-old from Nebraska must think Paris dusted over some blue hard courts with a spritz of red clay because he’s had quite the run. At the very least, it’s safe to say that he didn’t read my post on how Americans have historically been allergic to the dirt in Paris.
In the first round, Sock upset the 10 seed, Grigor Dimitrov. It was a huge win, but he didn’t let anything about the clay slow him down. His success continued and he soon found himself standing opposite the “King of Clay” yesterday. Uh-oh.
In Monday’s match against Rafa, Jack Sock grabbed a set. Jack Sock took a set off Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Wow, that feels good to say twice.
Nadal, despite his recent decline, has shown pixelated shades of glory during this year’s French major. In his career, the Spaniard has taken home a record-setting nine French Open titles and, naturally, is hungry for more dirt. So when Jack Sock stepped onto the powder, no one wouldn’t blame you for thinking the end was near for the American. Rafa was practically foaming at the mouth. Sock is a big hitter with a craving for lines and a disregard for speed limits. Not exactly the ideal style of play for a surface that is slower than a car with three wheels.
Down 5-3 in the third set, Sock forehanded his way to four straight games and snagged the set. Jack Sock took a set off Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Three times sounds even nicer.
So what do we make of this? Is Jack Sock the future of American tennis? Maybe that’s an overreaction. Let’s look at a few facts.
Andy Roddick, one of the more recent standout American tennis stars, didn’t make it to the fourth round of the French Open until 2009 when he was 26 years old. Sock is 22.
Roddick won his first slam in 2003 at the US Open. A-Rod was just 21 years old. That’s a damn good reason to pop some bottles. Sock’s best major performance was in 2015 … at the French Open.
A sign of good things to come? Or was 22-year-old Sock riding a wave of luck by listening to Taylor Swift’s “22” to pump up for each match? Personally, I’m unbeatable when I warm up to T-Swift. Let’s just keep that between you and me.
At the very least, Jack Sock will be keeping our feet warm and fuzzy while we pray he’s the Luke Skywalker of American tennis. Perhaps a new hope for the red, white, and blue. That would make for one nifty looking lightsaber and one very easy name to chant at Arthur Ashe stadium.