Newspaper article International New York Times

With Serve and Swagger, Jack Sock Aims for Breakthrough ; 21-Year-Old American Hopes Summer Surge Leads to Rogers Cup Title

Newspaper article International New York Times

With Serve and Swagger, Jack Sock Aims for Breakthrough ; 21-Year-Old American Hopes Summer Surge Leads to Rogers Cup Title

Article excerpt

With tournament success and a new training regimen, the 21-year- old American believes "it's all kind of falling into place."

There is no shortage of eye-catching trophies on Jack Sock's shelf, beginning with the one for the 2010 United States Open junior boys' championship, which he won as a wild-card entry.

Since then, Sock, a 21-year-old American, has added the mixed doubles title at the 2011 United States Open, with Melanie Oudin, and, last month, a stunning Wimbledon doubles crown captured with a Canadian, Vasek Pospisil, in a rousing victory over the Bryan brothers.

By all appearances, Sock has the serve and swagger of a potential winner. He may also be getting closer to the real prize he is after, a breakthrough in the men's singles rankings.

"For me, it's starting to feel that it's all kind of falling into place," Sock said before blowing out the veteran Austrian Jurgen Melzer, 6-1, 6-3, in the first round of the Rogers Cup on Tuesday. "It's weird -- you see a lot of guys around my age who feel like they've been around for a while doing this. For me, because of some injuries, missing time, having to qualify for a lot of events, it's almost like my first full year."

At a career-high ranking of 60, no one, least of all Sock, is declaring him the next great player from the United States, or even the next John Isner, who is the highest-ranked American at No.14.

But that is always the Catch-22 when discussing the backslide of American fortunes in men's tennis. The more forbidding standards -- McEnroe and Connors to Sampras and Agassi -- may not soon change, unrealistic and unfair as they may be. Given the alternatives, and the global competition, most young players would sign up for Isner's career.

Sock, in fact, credits his surge this summer -- he reached consecutive ATP tournament semifinals in Newport, R.I. (his first), and Atlanta -- to joining the 6-foot-10 Isner in training at the Saddlebrook facility, near Tampa, Fla., before the French Open.

"I was in the area playing the Sarasota Challenger, 45 minutes away," he said. "My agent has a house in Saddlebrook. I texted John, who I've been friends with for a couple of years and said, 'Hey, you mind if I come to Tampa and work out with you guys for a few days? …

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