Jack Sock, 18, announced his decision to turn pro and forgo a college tennis career. (Justin Lane/EPA/Landov)
High school phenom Jack Sock has decided to turn pro. The 18-year-old, who was debating playing a year of college tennis, boasts an impressive resume after going 80-0 in singles competition and grabbing four straight individual Kansas state championships during his high school career at Blue Valley North in Overland Park, Kan.
"It was a toss-up for a while,'' said Sock. “The past few weeks, I thought my game was to the point to where I thought I could go out and compete with the top players in the world. I'm ready to make a full-time commitment to it.''
In an American tennis landscape that is constantly searching for the player of tomorrow to fill today’s void, Sock certainly seems like an intriguing prospect.
Watching him play at last year’s U.S. Open, where he became the second American to win the Junior Championships since Andy Roddick in 2000, one needn't strain to see glimpses of the components necessary to be an ATP contender. Sock is equipped with a strong first serve that’s particularly well-suited for hardcourts, good power and control with his groundstrokes and an athletic 6-foot-1 frame that allows for both power and movement.
The adjustment to the pro level won’t be easy, but he’s shown good mental strength in taking his new tennis stardom in stride, as well as a solid understanding of tactics. In the U.S. Open juniors final, Sock dropped the first set to fellow American Denis Kudla, but was able to adjust his approach to neutralize his opponent's attacking style and close out the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Sock will need to work up his current world No. 549 ranking, which, with very few rankings points to defend, shouldn’t be hard once he starts qualifying for pro level events.
And he certainly seems to have the confidence needed to do so. At least his favorite quote on his Facebook profile suggests so. “Mental game??? That's for people who don't have sick timing on their forehands.”