The past 12 months have been good for professional tennis player Jack Sock. The 2011 Blue Valley North High School graduate has experienced Olympic and professional success during this period.
The Johnson County resident didn’t feel well going into the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil after being diagnosed with walking pneumonia before leaving for the games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I was going to play in the Olympics with everything but a broken bone,” he says. “I wasn’t going to miss the chance to represent my country at the highest level.”
Sock got a gold medal in mixed doubles and a bronze in doubles at the Olympics.
“It meant everything to me,” he says. “It was such a surreal feeling in the opening ceremonies and wearing the red, white and blue on the court. Hoisting the two medals I won for not only myself but my family, friends and country.”
Sock has been a big fan of the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs, and following his Olympic success, the clubs honored him.
“I’m a die-hard fan of both,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game and lead the ‘chop’ for the Chiefs pregame.”
But all his rooting interest isn’t all in KC. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“My roots make me a Husker fan for college sports,” he says.
The former Mustang has enjoyed success this year. He won the singles titles in Auckland, New Zealand and Delray Beach, Florida in January and February. He was ranked Number 18 in the world in early March.
“It gave me a lot of confidence to begin the early season like this,” he says. “I think it’s going to catapult me into the rest of the season.”
The Nebraska native moved to Johnson County during his middle school years, going to Overland Trail Middle School and then to Blue Valley North.
His tennis career for the Mustangs will be hard to surpass. He won every match he played in and only lost one set—to his brother Eric—during his high school career.
“I think (high school tennis) helped teach me how to win,” he says. “I was probably favored in all those matches, but it’s still not always easy to win when you are expected to win, so I think that helped me in a lot of ways.”
It wasn’t easy adjusting to professional tennis in the summer of 2011.
“It’s a very tough adjustment at the beginning, getting used to being on planes all the time and the hotel rooms and having to perform at the highest level takes experience,” he says. “I feel like I have a very good grasp on it now.”
Sock spends his offseason and time between tournaments working with his first coach in Johnson County, Mike Wolf, the director of high performance at the Elite Squad Tennis Club in Overland Park.
“2016 was another step forward for Jack,” Wolf says. “He advanced further in more majors and 1000 series events, he had more top 10 wins than in years past and was consistently beating the players he was supposed to be beating.”
What does the future hold for Sock?
“I think Jack will continue to improve each year,” Wolf says. “I see his belief growing each season.”
What does the BV North grad need to work on?
“I can always keep improving on and off the court,” Sock says. “I think (I can work on) my quickness around court and ability to understand the game and knowledge of it.”
Sock is working towards a good showing at the French Open, which will be held May 22-June 11.