As the sun set on another year of top-flight tennis, the American duo of CoCo Vandeweghe and Jack Sock could put down their racquets and bask in what was truly a year to remember.
The pair of talented 25-year-olds kicked off 2017 at Mastercard Hopman Cup in Perth, showcasing their powerful and passionate style on route to a birth in the tournament decider.
Ultimately they fell to a fired up French outfit in a thrilling three-match finale, but the scene was set for a meteoric rise up the rankings for two of the tennis world’s fastest rising stars.
Vandeweghe finished 2017 with a career-high world No. 10 ranking after a series of breakout performances. She dropped just one singles match at the Hopman Cup, before causing the boil over of the Australian Open by defeating defending champion and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round. She went on to make her first Grand slam semifinal appearance there, losing to fellow American Venus Williams in a tense three-set encounter.
Vandeweghe also made the semifinals of her hometown US Open, before guiding Team USA to their first Fed Cup crown since 2000, remaining undefeated in both singles and doubles action across all three ties. And with new coach Pat Cash in her corner, it seems we are finally beginning to see the best CoCo Vandeweghe has to offer.
Sock has arguably tasted even more success since leaving our shores in January. He started the year in fine form, losing only to Richard Gasquet in the final of the Hopman Cup before heading to Auckland and claiming the ASB Classic title.
He had his best major finish for the year at the Australian Open, before again winning an event in Florida in February. Sock had a relatively quiet middle period of the year, but finished with a flurry after claiming his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Paris earlier this month, becoming the first American to win a Masters event since Andy Roddick did so in 2010.
That result catapulted him into the season ending ATP Finals in London where he managed to progress to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Grigor Dimitrov. These end of season results helped Sock force his way into the world’s top 10 for the first time, and although he will finish the year ranked 8th in the world, he has already set his sights even higher for 2018.
And what better place to start than back at the Hopman Cup?
Both Vandeweghe and Sock return to Perth for the 30th anniversary of the season opening event, determined to go one better than they did in 2017.
Team USA will face off against Russia, Japan and Switzerland in Group B, with a final round-robin matchup against the Swiss looming as arguably their biggest hurdle to playing in back-to-back finals.
The USA has a great history in the event, winning more titles (six) and appearing in more finals (12) than any other country, although it has been a relatively lean period in recent years with their last victory coming in 2011.
That’s something Vandeweghe and Sock will be sure to atone for as they step out on court for the very first match of the 2018 Hopman Cup on Saturday, December 30th.
And we can’t wait to watch them shine again.
USA meets Russia in the first session of Mastercard Hopman Cup at 10.00am on Saturday 30 December.