Jack Sock honors two friends who died, wins French Open debut
By Nick Zaccardi
PARIS -- U.S. qualifier Jack Sock is 4-0 without dropping a set at Roland Garros after beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday in his first French Open main-draw match.
The success comes amid sadness. Two of Sock's former junior tennis peers died earlier this month in separate accidents. He's honoring them on his shoes this week.
"It's definitely been ‑‑ kind of hits you out of nowhere," Sock said. "So I put the initials on my shoes and definitely thinking of them out there."
"AR" and "BB" stand for Alex Rovello and Brian Boyd. Rovello, 21, drowned after a diving accident on May 11, according to The Oregonian. Rovello, who made Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd in 2010, played for Oregon's tennis team.
According to official accounts, Rovello jumped from a 60-foot cliff at Tamolitch Falls into Blue Pool, about two miles north of Trail Bridge Campground on Oregon 126.
Police say Rovello's body was too deep in the 37-degree water for friends and bystanders to save him.
The area had no cell phone service. A witness ran more than two miles to call 911.
Rescue teams from Linn County, Lane County, Eugene Mountain Rescue and Corvallis Mountain worked past midnight to recover Rovello's body, which was found 30 to 40 feet below the surface.
Alcohol did not appear to be a factor, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office.
Boyd, also 21, died in a car accident in Lawrence, Kan., on May 17. He was teammates with Sock at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kan., where Sock went 80-0 and won four straight state titles.
One person was killed and another suffered non-life threatening injuries after a two-vehicle accident Friday night about one mile south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59.
Kansas Highway Trooper Rodney King said that Kansas University student Brian Addison Boyd, 21, of Leawood, failed to stop at a stop sign crossing U.S. Highway 59 on County Road 458 around 10:40 p.m. Friday night.
The 2001 Ford Explorer Boyd was driving struck a 2010 Ford Edge driven by Deborah Chitwood, of Shawnee, rolling Boyd's vehicle before he was partially ejected.
Sock, the 2010 U.S. Open boys champion, reached the French Open with three straight straight-set wins in qualifying last week. That's after he lost five straight matches, all on clay, including one to Garcia-Lopez, dating to the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in early April. What's changed?
"The clay might be red," he said, smiling. "In the States, the green clay is definitely different.
"Obviously, winning three matches in qualifying gives you a lot of confidence and momentum coming into the main draw. And then playing a guy I just recently played and having an idea what I wanted to do out there to be successful against him definitely helps." Sock gets a familiar foe, No. 12 Tommy Haas, in the second round. They practice together frequently in Los Angeles and at tournaments. They're in a section that's all-American (Haas is German but an American citizen). The Sock-Haas winner will face the John Isner-Ryan Harrison winner in the third round. No U.S. man has made the fourth round of the French Open since Robby Ginepri in 2010.