FLUSHING MEADOWS â€“ Â American â€œelder statesmanâ€ James Blake and the â€œnew kid on the blockâ€ Jack Sock advanced to the second Â round of the US Open on Monday.
In a rain interrupted match on Louis Armstrong, 32-year-old Blake defeated Lukas Lacko Slovakia 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
â€œIt’s a good feeling,â€ said Blake of the win.Â â€œYou know, every time I come back here it’s still sort of the goosebumps walking out on Louis Armstrong or Arthur Ashe.Â I’m excited, and I get a lot of ticket requests.Â I get to see my fans and friends having a good time.Â That definitely keeps my spirits up, keeps my head up throughout the whole match.
â€œI can’t believe that it’s been I think 12 years I have been playing here just about every year.Â You know, it still doesn’t feel normal.Â It’s still an incredible feeling to be here and to be doing what I dreamed of as a kid.â€
Blake Â who is playing the tournament as a wildcard was asked about what it will take for an American like himself or John Isner to break through and make a run against the top three players.
â€œ I need to worry about one match at a time,â€ the 32-year-old Blake said.Â â€œI can’t worry about quarters or semis or finals right now.
â€œI’m still kind of scratching to get through these matches and get my confidence back and feel like I’m ready to compete.Â I don’t think that will change if I’m playing someone that’s 1, 2, or 3 in the world.
â€œI have been fortunate enough.Â I am an elder statesman.Â I have been around and have won a lot of matches.Â I have beaten guys 1 in the world, I’ve beaten guys that are top 3, top 4, top 5 plenty of times.Â There is no reason for me to go out there and play one of players those guys and be scared.
â€œI think it will take an unbelievable effort.Â I will have to play my best tennis.â€
Jack Sock led 27th seed Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 when the German retired with an illness. â€œI think today is definitely good for the confidence and good for the overall game and everything going into the next round,â€ said the young American in his second-ever win at the US Open.
â€œI think my serve was definitely pretty reliable when I was down.Â I was down Loveâ€‘30 once or twice, down Loveâ€‘40 once.Â Came up with some good serves, firstâ€‘ball combos.Â I think that was definitely some turning points, not letting him get a break and not letting him get some momentum back.
The 19-year-old loves playing on the Grandstand court. â€œ You can’t ask for a better tournament, a better atmosphere, a better environment,â€ sock said.Â â€œThat grandstand court was awesome.Â The fans were pretty close and really into it.Â It was a great environment.Â I’d love to play on there again sometime.â€
Jack Sock paired with Melanie Oudin last year to win the US Open Mixed Doubles title.
Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.