In a recent New York Times feature, Jack Sock talked about his present career-right No. 18 ATP ranking and his drive to reach the sport's pinnacle.
"Not many people can say they’ve been the top player in their sport in all of the U.S.," the 24-year-old said. "But my goals and aspirations are higher than Top 20 in the world. I want to be Top 10, Top 5. I want to win Slams and be No. 1 one day.”
The sky's the limit for the Nebraskan with a laser-like forehand, a Wimbledon doubles championship (against the Bryan brothers, no less) and three ATP singles titles already under his belt. It's not until the dead-end of Sock's NYT profile that the prose turns to, of all things, American politics:
- "His rising status was manifested in an advertising campaign by his racket company last spring in which Sock launched a bid for the U.S. presidency. He was, the commercial proclaimed, 'The leader you didn’t know you needed for the campaign you didn’t know existed.''
- "Sock still chuckles at the memory. He said he did not have time to vote in last year’s election and is not entirely up to speed on national politics, though he would like to be."
So it goes these days. We have, understandably, a not-quite-quarter-centurion who globe-trots and goes about his work as an independent contractor in a solitary sport. Sock is a millennial, perhaps disenfranchised by the national political process itself.
But this isn't about whether he would have voted for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump or a GOP also-ran. It's not about Hillary versus Trump.
This is about #Sockin16, the Babolat campaign that boasted the slogan: "The leader you didn’t know you needed for the campaign you didn’t know existed"? It now seems slightly absurd in light of his recent comments.
His racquet sponsor built a promotion around billing him as the next great thing, but he wasn't compelled to funnel that into real-life support for any one presidential candidate who he thought would truly make America great.
Were there one on his staff, a media adviser might beckon Sock to avoid talk of voting when it involves inaction on his part. Here's hoping the millennial with a bright future will realize what sort of free-world leader he needs for that future. That would be far better than merely knowing that a campaign exists.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.