Sock Wins All American Battle

ASB Classic, Auckland

Men’s Semifinal: [23] Jack Sock (USA) vs. [33] Steve Johnson (USA)

Playing against a countryman is never easy and it is even worse when that person is a friend.  The match is not only a physical battle but becomes a mental one as well. Learning the art of compartmentalization is a handy skill in a situation like this because you need to be fiercely competitive and forget that your opponent is a friend.  If you remember that you each are trying to accomplish the same goal that will also help you stay focused.  I am extremely competitive so I find it interesting to see how some players struggle to compete effectively against an opponent that’s a friend.  I wondered what their thought process was as they have gone so far in the draw with the start of first Major just a few days away.  Did they want to expend themselves fully or did they want to save something for the Australian Open?

It is probably unwise to play a tournament the week before a Major especially in these hot conditions; however, if you feel that you are not match fit, then perhaps it is to your advantage.  Another worry of course is the possibility of an unexpected injury and Sock fell in his previous match against Chardy, did that concern him? When you are young, you can get away physically with a lot; however, Sock has shown us that he is vulnerable in these steamy hot conditions.  It was not the battle I anticipated; however, it was a good match for Sock.  He won 6-4, 6-3 and is back in the final to play Joao Sousa with a good possibility of winning the second ATP singles title of his career.  A victory would definitely be a major boost in his confidence going into the Australian Open, so perhaps it was worth the risk of exhaustion and a potential injury.


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