Tennis: Sock into Heineken Open draw

Jack Sock, who made the third round at the US Open for the last two years, has been given the second wildcard for January's Heineken Open. Photo / Getty
Jack Sock, who made the third round at the US Open for the last two years, has been given the second wildcard for January's Heineken Open. Photo / Getty

One of the most talked about young American tennis prospects will be coming to Auckland this summer.

Twenty-one-year-old Jack Sock, who made the third round at the US Open for the last two years, has been given the second wildcard for January's Heineken Open.

Sock is 102nd in the world singles rankings, but peaked at No 78 in October.

Heineken Open tournament director Karl Budge said Sock was showing huge potential as a future star.

"Jack's probably the most promising up-and-coming American male coming through the system and someone that has been touted as possibly that next in line to take on the likes of Isner and try and I guess fill that gap left by Andy Roddick.''

Budge said Sock had proved his worth at the last two US Open's.

"He's made the third round there the last two years. He's had a challenging last couple of months, little niggling injuries, and decided not to play a couple of challenges later in the year and focusing on the new year.

"He hits a very hard ball, gets a lot of top spin and likes the big stage so he's a guy that is touted by a few there that could really jump up the rankings in the next couple of years so we went after him and pretty keen to see him start his year in Auckland.''

A third and final wildcard place remains open to join Sock and Marcos Baghdatis, with budge Hoping to secure a top ranked player who may decide at the last minute to play the Heineken Open.

Organisers insist they're not closing their eyes on the New Zealand's talent pool when planning for the third wildcard for next month's tournament.

Budge will reserve the final spot for a high profile player who may want extra match practice ahead of the Australian Open, otherwise it will go to the top ranked Kiwi.

Budge said the likes of Rubin Statham and Michael Venus weren't necessarily treated as a last resort.

"The Kiwi boys certainly provide a lot of local support as well and in some ways if it's not one of the really 'pointy end' guys then in some ways those local guys are much better options for us.''

He said they got incredibly close to having Rafael Nadal coming to the Heineken Open in January this year.

- Newstalk ZB

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