Last year, the tennis world fell in love with PopSock. Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jack Sock of the United States took the world by storm when they charged through the Wimbledon draw for one of the most improbable wins in recent memory. Much was expected from the young pair entering 2015. In many ways, they lived up to the hype. In many ways, they disappointed. It was a rollercoaster ride of a season for the ATP World Tour’s top up-and-coming doubles team.
Considering how famous this team is, they actually did not play very much together. Their record in 2015 was 22-10. They only played twelve tournaments together. However, of those twelve tournaments, they won two of them and reached a further two finals. In the spring, they were ranked as high as second in the world, but in the end, they finished on the outside looking in at ninth in the world.
PopSock were at the height of their powers when they made their 2015 debut in the spring in Indian Wells. In their first tournament of the season, they charged into the final, taking out Bob and Mike Bryan in the quarter-finals, and won it to claim their first ATP Masters 1000 title. They kept their momentum going into Miami where they reached their second consecutive Masters 1000 final, only this time they lost a tight three-setter to the Bryans, 10-8 in the third set tiebreak. They got their momentum going again in the fall, winning Beijing and reaching the final in Paris.
A major problem for PopSock was an injury to Jack Sock which forced them to miss the Australian Open (Pospisil played with a different partner). Hip surgery kept the American sidelined until Indian Wells. After a great spring in the USA, the pair stumbled through the clay season, but hoped Wimbledon would be their salvation. In their first Grand Slam title defence, they were stunned in the third round by Jamie Murray and John Peers. The loss kicked off a five-match losing streak that would see PopSock go winless through the summer hard courts, including a first round loss at the US Open. The streak put their chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in jeopardy. They would come close to qualifying, but fell one match short when they lost in the final of the Paris Masters. After another solid year on the tour, PopSock still could not qualify for the year-end championships.
The pair started off their year in the best way possible in winning their first ATP Masters 1000 title and followed it up with a near win in Miami, falling two points short. It would be six months before they tasted glory again, when they kicked off their late charge in the Race to London with a title in Beijing. A couple of weeks later, they would reach a third Masters 1000 event of the year in Paris, losing to Ivan Dodig and Marcin Melo. Twice in Masters 1000 action in 2015, PopSock defeated the iconic Bryan brothers, beating them in Indian Wells and Paris.
Unfortunately for PopSock, for all they had some great wins, they lost a lot of matches they should have won. They struggled in between their hot streaks in March and October. The low point was their winless summer. After Wimbledon, they lost four consecutive three-setters on the American summer hard courts. All of those losses came to lower ranked opponents. The last and arguably worst of those losses came at the hands of Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa in the first round of the US Open. With the ATP World Tour Finals falling out of reach, they needed something special on the fall hard courts, but a brutal loss in Shanghai would all but eliminate the pair from contention. In their first match in Shanghai, PopSock was stunned by the Aussie pairing of Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic. This loss all but eliminated PopSock from London contention. In the end, they were one win shy of qualifying. Shanghai could have been the difference.
Three Masters 1000 finals and one title are pretty good results, as was reaching the number two team ranking. However, they failed to get past the quarterfinals of a grand slam and once again missed qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, so there was not really any progress for PopSock. When they were playing their best tennis, they were almost untouchable. But they did not take that big step forward that they needed. They are still young, but both men are saying that singles is the priority. They need to be more consistent if they want to become the top doubles team that they are capable of being.