The Bryan brothers are often named the best doubles players ever, but they are inching towards 40 years old and new doubles stars are taking their places at the top. This year, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo are atop the Race to London leaderboard, but not too far behind in second place are Henri Kontinen and John Peers. The top 50 consist of a mix of older players and younger ones ranging from 24-41 years old, all still competing to make a living.
Generally, doubles players try to stick to one partner a year so they have a chance to make London, but not Jack Sock. Currently, Sock is 18 in the world in singles and 17 in doubles. He has played with three different partners (John Isner, Nicholas Monroe, and Nick Kyrgios) this year in just 4 tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, and Rome) and has 1,140 points so far in 2017.
So putting aside the ATP rankings, the best doubles player in the world is Jack Sock. Last year, FiveThirtyEight showed that Sock is, in fact, the best player in doubles using ELO ratings. Furthermore, according to UTR’s doubles ratings, it also shows him better than anyone else in doubles. So how is this possible? First off, Jack Sock has one of the biggest and best serves in all of tennis. Not only is his first serve amazing, but his second serve is deadly as it kicks up on his opponents with incredible amounts of spin. A lot of the time, the opponent has to block the ball back into the court because Sock’s serve is so tough to handle. When the opposing player does this, Jack’s partner can be on the offensive at the net. Immediately, the opponents are behind in the point.
Secondly, Jack Sock has arguably the biggest forehand in tennis. He hits his forehand with the second most RPMs on the ATP World Tour, second to only Rafael Nadal. For the most part, Sock plays the ad side. You may be thinking, why would someone who has one of the best forehands in tennis play the backhand side? Well, Jack rarely hits backhands in doubles because he loves to hit run around forehands and this is his most penetrating shot. Finally, standing at 6’3″, Jack Sock is a huge net presence and it is very difficult to pass him.
Now, even though Jack Sock is the best doubles player right now, this does not mean he is the best doubles player ever or that at his peak he was the best. These two statements would be false. Other players like Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and more have statistically been better than Sock when comparing each player’s peak. Jack Sock will probably continue to be the best doubles player in the world without even having to prove himself in the Nitto Tour Finals or consistently playing doubles tournaments week in and week out until a dominating doubles team breaks through the ranks.