Tennis Birthdays – Sept. 24, 2015

A two-time Grand Slam champ turns 23 today.

Jack Sock (USA), 23

Mixed doubles with Melanie Oudin at the U.S. Open in 2011, Wimbledon doubles last year with Canadian Vasek Pospisil. All that was left for the American was have his big breakthrough in singles.

And while he hasn’t make a major one, he’s solidly established as one of the talented youngsters,

A year ago, he was ranked No. 71, and his career high was No. 55. Right now, he’s at a career-best No. 28, and won his first ATP Tour title earlier this year at the American red-clay event in Houston, Texas.

Pospisock-Friday - 25_new

Sock had a scary moment on one of the really hot days at the US Open this year, crumpling in the heat and being forced to default. He really looked scary bad. But he recovered and helped the US defeat Uzbekistan to stay in the World Group for 2016. Sock, making his Davis Cup debut, won both his singles matches.

The US’s first-round matchup against Australia in 2016 will be fun, as Sock may get the call again, and be pitted against his BFF of 2015, Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios was quick to wish him a good day on Twitter.

The two put on a show at the Rogers Cup this summer in practice – this was, of course, before the Kyrgios on-court incident with Stan Wawrinka that sort of defined his summer and will define him going forward.

After losing to Sock and Pospisil – or PospiSock, as we like to call them here – at Wimbledon, the Bryans said Sock hit his forehand SO hard, it was almost like an overhead. That’s saying something.

Sock with USTA coach and former player Jay Berger.

Sock with USTA coach and former player Jay Berger.

He’s a better around player than we had perceived him to be, from having watch a LOTTA Sock over the last year or so. He has pretty good hands, decent instincts at the net, a bonzo serve and has improved his fitness quite a bit.

He seems to be taking it more seriously as he matures, which is not to say he still doesn’t like to enjoy himself.. A Jack Sock match is pretty much a non-stop play-by-play to his supporters, to whoever is close enough to listen. Also – cover the kids’ ears.

As for his partnership with Pospisil in doubles, it’s ongoing although, as they’ve always stated but people don’t want to believe, it’s as casual as it can be. When they’re playing the same events, they play together. If not, well, whatever.

The pair won Indian Wells this year, beating the Bryans along the way, and got to the final in Miami, where they lost to the Bryans. Defending at Wimbledon was a struggle; Pospisil was making his quarter-final run in singles, and Sock broke his finger. The best-of-five set format in doubles there also wasn’t an incentive; Pospisil ended up playing 10 sets the day they lost to Murray and Peers.

Of late, they’ve struggled. They played five tournaments together during the hard-court summer, and lost in the first round of each – including to Mayer and Sousa at the US Open. The Pospisock era may be wrapping up. But it was fun.

Meanwhile, how cute is this? Looks like it was about five years ago, when Sock was 16.

Charlotte (Lottie) Dod (1871)

LottieDodDod was Wimbledon champion five times back in the late 1880s, early 1890s.

She died in 1960 at the ripe old age of 88.

Astonishing now to think that would be what she’d wear on the tennis but at least, unlike the players of today, she was smart enough to wear a cap to stop the sun (far less strong a century ago) from beating down on her head.

Dod also was an Olympic silver medalist in archery, some 15 years after she was winning Wimbledon titles. Click on the link above; it’s a pretty interesting life.

According to her Wikipedia bio, she also played golf and field hockey. A multi-sport jock of her time. On the plus side, apparently her dad was really wealthy, so luckily she found something productive and healthy to do with her life of leisure! The Dod kids were raised by governesses, and taking up tennis was something pretty common for people of that class.

It seems Dod played with a modern grip and hit the ball on the rise. But back in those days, the ladies served underhand.

Dod lived with her brother most of her life, never married. And the legend has it that she died while listening to Wimbledon on the radio, in bed. That’s a pretty good way to go out.

(Pic: Wikipedia)

Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (POL), 31

Jans, the longtime former partner of countrywoman Alicja Rosolska (who now plays with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski), is currently ranked No. 43 (career best was No. 28) in doubles. In singles, she never broke the top 400.

Klaudia Jans

She has three doubles titles on the WTA Tour, and 11 more on the ITF circuit.  And she made the mixed doubles final with Santiago Gonzalez at the French Open in 2012.

Jans-Ignacik also a mom, and returned to the tour after having daughter Aniela in August, 2013 (she took a long break before, from Sept. 2012, but was back in Jan. 2014)  with hardly a loss of form. She also has a Master’s degree. And she’s married to a sportswriter. So she’s got the trifecta.


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