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May 26, 2015

Jack Sock


J. SOCK/G. Dimitrov
7-6, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you play any better than that?
JACK SOCK: Can I play better than that? Yeah, I think there is always room for improvement. Yeah, today was a great match for me. Things that I look to do well when I'm playing my matches I thought I did very well today: serving, forehand. Obviously most people know the things I look for the most. I thought I executed them very well. For the most part I took care of my serve fairly well and was able to get into a lot his service games and make him play some balls. I was fortunate enough to get through.

Q. Not nervous at al it appeared, too.
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I'm not one to get nervous a whole lot when I go out and play matches. I was more looking forward to it, that it'd be a fun battle. Two good players going at it on a good court, my favorite surface.

Q. We've heard you say that before, favorite surface. Why is that? What do you like about the clay, and has that always been what you've called your favorite surface?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, for most of my career I would say. I think this just suits my game very well. Like I said, serve, forehand, I think it really complements those shots well for me. Serve is able to get up, forehand gets up, and it slows it down a little bit where I'm able to take my time and kind of maneuver the ball around. Movement is another big part of my game. I feel like on the clay get to a lot of balls, I can touch a lot of balls in the balls, which sometimes can frustrate guys when you get to one extra. Sometimes that can change a match.

Q. When is the first time you played on red clay though? How old were you?
JACK SOCK: The year I played quallies here. Well, played a challenger first in Bordeaux. Yeah, the first kind of real red clay was here couple years ago when I played quallies.

Q. How is your brother doing? I know there was a really scary time, and a lot of us haven't talked to you since then.
JACK SOCK: Yeah, he's doing much better now. He's got full I guess health back. He's started working again. He teaches tennis back home in Kansas City with the coach I worked with growing up. Just the little things, strength and mobility, shoulder, he's just had to do a lot of work to get back. He's getting there and close to 100%.

Q. I think when you had your surgery earlier in the season and obviously your brother got sick, people thought this might be a reason for your year to be a little slower, lower expectations, but it's kind of been opposite completely results-wise. How happy are you with what you managed to piece together with all the other stuff that you had, the diversity early on?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, it's been a lot outside of tennis for me, a lot of stuff going on. It's motivated me in a lot of ways to see a family member, and especially my brother -- you know, I'm very close with him. To see him go through what he did... And I was in the hospital every day with him after I had surgery, so just back-to-back things that were very unfortunate. To see him battle and get through that when he was very close to not making, it was more inspirational I think than anything. Like people I think know in Indian Wells, when I started the year, I was out there and he was with me. I was playing for him, him and my family. Just doing the best I could for them and trying to make them proud. It's kind of carried over every week.

Q. So you won Houston and came over to Europe and took some tough losses there. Is it a lot different coming to Europe from the United States?
JACK SOCK: I mean, yes and no. Obviously when you play in the States it's a lot of fun, and Houston is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. It's a great atmosphere. You're the home favorite. The crowd is cheering for you the whole time. You come over to Europe and it's a little bit different in that sense. But, yeah, I mean, I started in Madrid and had chances against Tsonga second round in there and wasn't able to capitalize. Then up a set and a break twice on Simon in Rome and wasn't able to get that one either. So it's a couple tough losses, but just keep your head up and go forward, and then play a match like today and kind of all changed around pretty quick.

Q. How do you balance the doubles with the singles now? You obviously are winning a lot in both. At some point do you cut back on doubles? How are you going to manage that?
JACK SOCK: Possibly at some point. I mean, obviously we're in the race for London again this year. It's something Vash and I both want to do if we can hopefully qualify and make it. So for now we're gonna schedule it this year a little bit better than we did last year. We kind of messed up a few times and didn't really think about London as much as we should the end of the year. Yeah, this year we'll definitely try to push and make that. Yeah, as everyone knows, singles is a priority for both of us. We're trying to just do the best we can there. Doubles for both of us -- it gives us a lot of confidence when you go out and you're playing Saturday, Sunday of these tournaments, one of the last guys in the locker room, and some weeks taking home trophies only helps, even if it's on the doubles court. It can relate a lot of things to singles, and I think for both of us it's been really good.

Q. Based on the rankings and what Dimitrov has done in the past, did you come into this match thinking, I hope I have a chance; I know I can beat him? What was your mindset going into the match?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, obviously you play these tournaments to try to beat anyone you play. I feel like if I play some of my best tennis I have a chance against anybody. We played in Stockholm last year and I had a break point chance -- we played two great sets, both of us, split. I had a chance in the third to get a break up and serve for it. But it was a great match overall. He was able to take it at the end. Obviously that gave me some confidence going into today knowing I already played a close match with him. And then to play on clay, which I think suits me a little more. You know, once again, if I played well, I knew I had a chance. I was able to do it.

Q. At this time of year there are a lot of questions asked of American players about Americans at the French Open and playing on clay. Curious whether, A, you care at all about what's gone on in the past, how much you know about that, and what is your take on U.S. players at the French Open and on red clay, and if that affects you at all?
JACK SOCK: I mean, I kind of worry about myself. I go in each day worrying about my practices and matches and doing everything I can to do my best. Obviously I hope as a whole for American tennis we can do well and we can get wins and kind of push to be somewhat where we were bunch of years ago when we had some of the American guys winning and doing well. But, yeah, as a whole we're all pushing each other and trying to do very well. Each of us individually is also focusing on ourselves. I think when one of us does well it pushes the others to do well as well. I think that's everyone's mindset.

Q. Is there at all a prejudice against clay that Americans have that you have to sort of convince yourself to get over as you fell in love with the red stuff?
JACK SOCK: I may have been one of the first to really like it. I think the other guys took a little more time. Obviously it's a vital part of our year. It takes up a few months. You can't just not play the clay season. Whatever your personal preference is, if it's not your favorite time of year you still got to play and push through it. So I think, yeah, they're kind of accepting it a little more now. For me personally, I look forward to this time of year.

Q. Green versus red, do you really think there is much of a difference? They say the green has a little bit more stone in it.
JACK SOCK: I think there is a lot of difference. Yeah, I think the green is a little bit tougher in the sense of from my experience playing on it, one of the biggest things obviously is the sliding on the clay. I feel like on the green it's a little bit harder to get your footing. I feel like once you start sliding on it out to a ball it's harder to get your footing back and get back in the point. As true as this stuff is, it's very easy to stop and change directions. I feel like the play is a little bit more cleaner on the red. I feel like there is definitely some rougher bounces on the green. So as a whole, I feel like the clay in general is a little more true, the red clay.

Q. Isner watched a bit of yours. He was excited about it. Did you see him at all? He beat Seppi, who had beat Federer back in the Australian Open, so obviously a big one.
JACK SOCK: Right. Well, yeah I saw John right before I went on the court. He had just finished. Yeah, obviously good one for him. Seppi is not an easy to player to play on any surface at any tournament. Yeah, I saw him briefly right before I went on the court, and then he sent me a massage I just saw saying, Congrats.
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