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3400 revolutions per minute. That’s how much Jack Sock spins the ball on his high octane forehand. It’s most of anyone measured on the ATP Tour. But to wrap your mind around it lets break it down to a more granular level: 56 rotations per second. That’s a buzz saw of yellow felt coming at you!
Last week at Indian Wells on court radar measured his forehand at 106mph. So you might be asking..why isn’t this guy rolling the field in 2018. Here’s a few reasons why:
Jack Sock must lead the tour in let chords and shots into the net off his forehand. Surprisingly, with so much spin Sock’s margin for error is surprisingly small. Watching him in person last month at the Delray Beach Open and analyzing his match video reveals a startling pattern on his forehand. He hits the ball way to shallow. You will even see it in the first point of the shot sequence below from his 2017 3rd round highlight package with Jiri Vesely on Stadium Court.
Most of the ball speed is in flight so if an ATP Tour level player is bouncing the ball short it gives opponents extra time to measure their reply. This is especially true on the gritty surfaces of Indian Wells and the Miami Open where the court acts as velcro almost grabbing the ball into submission.
His opponents “game plan” towards his backhand. But in 2018 opponents are getting free points off his forehand which is the reason for his troubling season to date won loss record and slow sinking ranking.
Sock’s body language sends the wrong message to his opponents and it feeds negative emotions. During one long rally in Indian Wells in his 3rd round match against Feliciano Lopez Sock prematurely headed to his court side chair off a ball he dug up on a wide retrieval for an easy sitter volley. He sulked to his chair even before the point was complete. His opponents are taking notice.
Sock has a big serve to control the point flow on service games and a ferocious forehand. His reverse face drop technique is a marvel to watch on YouTube high definition slow motion but the degree of difficulty is at its highest. His racquet face on take back is faces away from the field of play. It requires supreme timing, flexible hinges in wrist and elbow and requires constant fine tuning to keep it sharp. His signature shot has been his least consistent weapon so far this year.
Sock also possesses great athleticism and net skills. The one positive for Sock in 2018 has been his doubles play. He is very crafty around the court and has excellent utility shots and improvisational skills. He is very intriguing to watch and a crowd favorite.
Players attack this side a lot. Sock will compensate with slices, and run around forehands but he can’t consistently hurt people with his backhand which just makes his current shallow and troublesome forehand less effective as players can find his backhand more easily.
The good news for Sock is his favorite surface, red clay is just around the corner. This surface and the many tournament over the next few months may be just what he needs to return to form.
Grab some popcorn and find yourself at a Jack Sock match at the 2018 Miami Open. He is fun to watch.
2017 Miami Open Results: Sock lost in QF to Rafael Nadal 26 36
Scouting Report Written by: Brian Lutz
Photo courtesy of Zimbio