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Lincoln native Jack Sock enjoying his Wimbledon crown
TENNIS

Lincoln native Jack Sock enjoying his Wimbledon crown

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Wimbledon was over, the tuxedo returned, and Jack Sock was back to work Tuesday.

He’s competing in the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, where he won his first-round match. Things are starting to settle down a bit, he said, after he won the Wimbledon doubles title Saturday.

“It was kind of crazy for a few days,” Sock said.

Sock, who grew up in Lincoln and Overland Park, Kansas, teamed with Canadian Vasek Pospisil for the first time to win the Grand Slam title, upsetting top seeds and reigning Wimbledon champions Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. It was the second major title for Sock, who won a mixed doubles title with Melanie Oudin at the 2011 U.S. Open.

Sock didn’t make it out of qualifying last year at Wimbledon. And he was ousted in the second round in singles this year.

He’d told former coach Mike Wolf that he wasn’t that good on grass, which made Wolf chuckle as he watched Saturday’s match from the Elite Squad Tennis Club in Overland Park. 

Now, Sock has a trophy from one of the most prestigious events in the sport, something he’d dreamed about as a youngster.

“Just to do it is pretty crazy and pretty surreal,” he said.

It was even more special since his dad, Larry, made it for the final.

They then attended the traditional champions’ dinner Sunday night at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, after getting fitted for their tuxes for the black-tie affair earlier in the men’s locker room at the All England Club.

They hobnobbed with former champions like Martina Navratilova and Marion Bartoli, and the elder Sock watched his son and Pospisil get a few pictures with singles champion Novak Djokovic.

“It was a nice time for him and I to experience that,” Jack Sock said.

Sock said it’s too early to say he could be one of those singles champions some day, though that’s his goal. He was ranked No. 76 in singles and No. 31 in doubles by the ATP at the start of the tournament in Rhode Island, and said he’ll keep trying to prove himself and move up the rankings.

His goal is to be in the top 50 in singles by the end of the season.

“There is a group of us young guys who are working hard and trying to get American tennis back the way it was,” he said. “It’s not just me. I’m obviously hopeful I can break through.”

After he asked Pospisil to team with him at Wimbledon and having success, the pair plan to continue playing together this summer with the hope of reaching the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November. The top eight singles players and doubles teams in the rankings qualify.

Sock said they both have big serves, feel comfortable at the net and move well. Their experience facing big servers in singles has helped, too.

“We just get along really well and had a great, great time playing,” Sock said. “I had a lot of fun, which helps, as well.”

Sock’s win on the big stage was no surprise to Wolf, who watched the match with about 50 people at the tennis club, where Sock’s older brother Eric — a former Husker tennis player — now works. Wolf, who coached both boys, said Jack has always been Mr. Clutch.

“He’s very good under pressure. He thrives at that moment,” Wolf said. “I would never bet against him. Pospisil plays fabulously, as well.”

Sock is very capable of being in that next wave of top players from the U.S., Wolf said.

There’s been some criticism of his backhand, but Sock has a high first-serve percentage, one of the best forehands in the world and great court awareness, Wolf said.

Sock is becoming more comfortable with the day-to-day demands of playing on the pro circuit, his former coach said. He remains Sock’s mentor, frequently talking with him before and after matches. He plans to attend a few of his matches this summer, while Sock continues to look for a traveling coach.

Sock rented an apartment in Tampa, Florida, which will allow him to hit more with players like fellow pro John Isner. The warm weather will give him more time to work out in the winter, too.

That all seems far away now. Sock is still marveling that he won Wimbledon.

It’s not what he expected, especially after seeing their doubles draw. It was tough, and playing four of the best doubles teams in the world to win the title was the best part of the experience, he said.

“In the end,” Sock said, “it’s the best moment of my career so far.”

Contact the writer:

402-444-1034, marjie.ducey@owh.com

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Larry Sock almost missed seeing his son Jack win a Wimbledon doubles title. Twice. Sock first thought the final was Sunday, not Saturday, until texting with Jack after his semifinal win Friday.

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