Tennis News Wire -
As Jack Sock, the Kansas teenager who appears one of America’s greatest hopes for the future, appoints Sweden’s Joakim Nystrom as his coach, the recently displaced U.S. no.1 Mardy Fish admitted there are downsides to him helping out his youthful compatriots.
Fish another emergent American talent cited Ryan Harrison, the 20 year-old who this week stands in 47th position on the ATP World Tour rankings as the perfect case in point. “Someone like Ryan jumps out at you,” said Fish who played Harrison three times last year and twice was pushed to three sets in Los Angeles and Tokyo.
“He's sort of a sponge when it comes to information from all the guys that have played for a while or have just retired. The only problem with taking someone under your wing is that you're trying to compete with them, as well, and it's an individual sport, so it's not a team sport.
“I'm certainly open to discussing anyone's game at any time. If a young player would approach me, I would give him my full attention. But they're still trying to take your lunch away."
Sock, currently ranked world no.345, only returned to competitive tennis this week following elbow surgery and an abdominal injury that required a four months lay-off. After being awarded a wild card, the 19 year-old won his first round match at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island this week beating world number 126, Igor Kunitsyn of Russia, in three sets but was beaten in the second round by South African qualifier Izak Van der Merwe.
Last September Sock won the U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title in partnership with Melanie Oudin. A year earlier he was U.S. Open boy’s singles champion and his long-term junior coach was Mike Wolf until the pair split earlier this year.
Nystrom, who most recently coached Austria Jurgen Melzer to a place in the world’s top ten and also worked with fellow Swede Thomas Enqvist and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, will begin coaching Sock at The Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, which begins July 23.
During his playing career 49 year-old Nystrom won 13 singles titles, twice reached the quarter finals of the US Open and was the 1986 Wimbledon doubles champion alongside Mats Wilander. He climbed to no.7 on the singles world rankings and retired in 1989, going on to be Sweden’s Fed Cup captain and Davis Cup coach under Wilander’s captaincy.