Sunday, May 7, 2023 Sock perpetuates pickleball's momentum forward as he stirs the tennis vs. pickleball debate after winning the gold medal in mixed doubles at the Carvana PPA North Carolina Open with Anna Leigh Waters live on ESPN 2 Sunday night.
Jack Sock made a big splash in his pro pickleball debut at the North Carolina Open. Although he made a run in singles to the quarterfinals, he did end up losing to lefty Jake Kusmider in a tough 3 game match. Singles is typically the easiest of the three events for a tennis player to transition into and it makes perfect sense that Sock, who currently plays on the ATP tour, is ranked within the top 100 currently and has reached as high as number 8 in singles and number 2 in doubles in the world, would do very well in a pro pickleball singles event. However in pickleball, singles is not the main attraction yet. Doubles is the lime-light and takes much longer for players from all backgrounds to acclimate to its nuances and strategies. Sock played mixed with 16 year old pickleball phenom Anna Leigh Waters, who is definitively the best female pickleball player in the world. She was the glue that held the team together through many rounds of play during the main draw culminating in Jack Sock having a coming out party in game 2 and 3 of the mixed doubles final against Riley Newman and Allyce Jones.
Sock also played men's doubles with Tyson McGuffin and did not have a very good showing in that event. In men's doubles everyone's reaction time is too good and the forehand drives just don't cut it on a consistent basis. In order to play well in men's you need to have all the tools in your toolbox and Sock doesn't just yet. Overall for his first pickleball tournament ever, he did excellent. It's a pretty exciting time for pickleball fans when a tennis player of Jack Sock's caliber (formerly and currently) can come into pickleball and compete at the highest levels, no doubt not without training of course. Sock's counterpart Sam Querrey has not had the same luck. Sock comes over from tennis with a very different set of skills because not only has he been a tennis singles player but a very dominate doubles tennis player as well. Querrey has a respectable tennis doubles career but was never known for his hand speed and tennis doubles skills as Sock was known. This is why Sock is and will be a more dominant force than Sam Querrey in pickleball if he continues to play. Jack, have you caught the pickleball bug? You beat Riley...but can you beat Ben? If he decides to keep playing, maybe we will all find out.