Sock Savours London Experience With An Eye On 2018
All dreams must come to an end.
For Jack Sock, the Nitto ATP Finals fairy tale concluded on Saturday in London. As he has done throughout the past few weeks, Sock refused to fall without a fight, battling to the last ball against Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian prevailed 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, but the gritty semi-final encounter would be decided by the slimmest of margins.
The tennis world won't soon forget the American's magical run to punch his ticket to the season finale and glittering performances under the bright lights of The O2. And neither will he. Despite succumbing to Dimitrov, Sock admits there are only positives from his experience.
"I can't complain," Sock told the assembled media following Saturday's match. "I shouldn't have been here in the first place. To be here, my first appearance, and make the semis getting through a pretty tough group, I beat some good players. Obviously both groups are very tough. But for my first time, to play the three guys that were in our group and to get through, was a big confidence booster for me."
After suffering a tight loss to Roger Federer to open his round-robin campaign, Sock would claim a pair of three-set victories over World No. 5 Marin Cilic and World No. 3 Alexander Zverev to book his place in the last four. Entering the week, he was 1-8 against Top 5 opposition in his career, making the feat even more remarkable.
But Sock's string of impressive wins extends beyond the confines of The O2. His improbable run to lift his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Paris set the stage, providing the 25-year-old with plenty of confidence to build on. And a year-end Top 10 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
"It's more about reassurance. I've always believed I can play at this level, play there consistently. Now to do it over a couple weeks, I would say it is more reassurance going into next year than learning things.
"There's always things you can improve on, get better on the court, things you can take away from matches, especially tonight, all the matches I've played the last three weeks. Probably more the reassurance to know I'm at this level and can stay there.
"I'm definitely going to take the experience from the last three weeks, everything I learned, all the things I did well in the matches, things I can improve on and work on in the off-season, and get ready for 2018."
But Sock only has one eye on 2018 at this point. After enjoying an extended campaign, it's time for a well-deserved break. Hey John Isner, still up for a round at Augusta?
"I really don't want to talk about 2018. I want to go play golf."