After playing his first-ever full season on the ATP World Tour last year, 21-year-old American Jack Sock is trying to settle into his new life as a professional tennis player. Here he talks about new normals and a surprise coach he’s brought on beginning this week.
BNP Paribas Open: Can you tell us why Indian Wells is so special for you?
Jack Sock: It’s probably the most relaxing tournament of the year. It’s great for fans since they can get pretty close for practices, and matches have a great atmosphere in all the stadiums. It’s just a really well-run tournament overall. I think it’s pretty cool fans can get close and watch the players at practice.
BNP Paribas Open: Do you change your routine up at all by playing golf or anything while you’re here?
Sock: Not while I’m in the tournament, but maybe once I’m done playing, maybe I’ll spend another day here and play some golf. I played at the Hyatt course for the past couple of years. Every course here is pretty amazing.
BNP Paribas Open: James Blake is here working with you as your coach this week, is that right?
Sock: Yeah, James is here for a couple of days. I was fortunate for him to come out, and I’m happy to have him on board. It’s always great to have a former player, a younger former player out there. We really connect on the mental side and understand each other, and it helps he’s had such a long and great career. I think it will be really good.
BNP Paribas Open: You’re a pretty big sports fan outside of tennis. What are some things over the last year you’ve got to do as a fan?
Sock: I went to a Nebraska Cornhusker game last year. I also sat courtside at a Memphis Grizzlies game last month and we actually went on the court and did a basketball and tennis competition. Ryan Harrison and I did it against the Bryan brothers. My first international experience was a Germany vs. Sweden soccer match. A lot of guys on tour have probably done these things already, but especially the first few times you realize just how cool of a life you have with the stuff we do.
Read more from Jack Sock – including where his nicknames came from – AFTER THE JUMP.
BNP Paribas Open: We’re read that “J. Sizzle” and “Showtime” are nicknames of yours. Is that true? Where did they come from?
Sock: I think J. Sizzle started when I was really young with my childhood coach. Showtime caught on later. I like to play in front of crowds and have people around. I don’t mind either, but I like Showtime a little better, though J. Sizzle has definitely caught on more.
BNP Paribas Open: Does your 80-0 high school tennis match record still stand?
Sock: [Laughing.] Yep, it’s still there!
BNP Paribas Open: And what about your brother Eric, is he still playing college tennis?
Sock: He just graduated in the fall. He’s played in a couple of Futures and qualies of other events. I support him in everything he does, but right now he’s just enjoying being out of school and living life. If he looks for advice or some knowledge of being on tour, I’m there. He loves tennis and wants to play so if that’s what he wants to do, I’ll help him any way I can.
BNP Paribas Open: That’s very brotherly of you. Lastly, a goal for the year? Do you set them?
Sock: No. I just do the best I can. I try to improve every day, gain more experience. I think if I put in the work every day, the results will come.