Tennis

American Jack Sock has fun with ‘presidential campaign’

Jack Sock
Jack Sock AP

Unhappy with the candidate choices for president in 2016? Does Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz, or Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders fit the bill?

Have no fear. There’s another option to consider — the tennis option: Jack Sock.

In a clever marketing campaign designed at the beginning of the year by Babolat, the French tennis equipment company that Sock endorses, the 24th-ranked American is the boy next door whose grown up to run for President.

A visit to jacksockforpresident.com is where fans will find out Sock’s “the leader you didn’t know you needed in the campaign you didn’t know existed.”

The site features a snazzily produced campaign video with a reenactment of Sock as a child running through cornfields of dream in his native Nebraska. There’s also a place to request a Super Official Campaign Kit (SOCK) that comes complete with bumper stickers and down-loadable posters of the candidate.

“It’s good fun,” said the 21st-seeded Sock, after moving into the Miami Open third round on Saturday, of his faux presidential campaign. “I like to take pride being an American and playing for the U.S. in Davis Cup and, hopefully, the Olympics this summer. When I heard [Babolat’s] idea, I was all for it.”

Knowing a move to the White House from his home in the American heartland is probably not a forehand winner away, Sock’s smartly continuing to pull up his socks and play tennis. On Saturday, he had a short day. He was leading Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-2, 3-2 when Stakhovsky retired with an injury.

Sock’s next tennis campaign rally will be a third-round encounter against 12th seed Milos Raonic of Canada, who scored a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 second-round win over American Denis Kudla.

“We’re familiar with each other’s game,” Sock said of Raonic. “He’s an established top-15, sometimes top-10 player. I think everyone knows he has a massive serve, likes to come forward and is a lot more aggressive these days than he used to be. I’ll have to play my best to beat him.”

Although tennis is the priority, Sock’s having some good fun with his presidential campaign, even working the crowd in the locker room.

“I have a few bumper stickers and other stickers for shirts that I’ve been handing out,” Sock said. “I do have one on my car, and I put one on [John] Isner’s car and he hasn’t taken it off yet, which is good. Some of the guys in the locker room are giving me a look though.”

The 13th-seeded Isner wasn’t looking like a formidable vice presidential running mate for Sock if his second-round match result on Saturday is any indication. Isner double faulted the final two service points of the third-set tiebreaker, and he was upset by American qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-2, 2-6 7-6 (7-5).

The truth is the 23-year-old Sock’s presidential bid is a bit premature as he’s 12 years shy of 35, which is the age the U.S. Constitution mandates for a person to be eligible to be president.

But there’s no harm in getting a head start to his post-tennis career future. Clearly, a good place for Sock to begin would be to actually engage in the political process. He claims past travel commitments have kept him from ever pulling an election lever.

“This will be the first time I’ll vote,” said Sock, who hasn’t yet made up his mind which legitimate candidate he will support.

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