Jack Sock falls in Atlanta opener in his return from injury layoff

Jack Sock falls in Atlanta opener in his return from injury layoff

The 26-year-old American had not played since injuring his right thumb in January.

Jack Sock returned to competition this week in Atlanta, saying his time off with injury has left him refreshed.

The 26-year-old fell in the first round, his first event since tearing ligaments in his right thumb at the Australian Open. The injury came following a poor singles season for Sock in 2018, where he had more than a dozen first-round defeats and did not win back-to-back matches until his final event of the season.

Sock, who acknowledged having motivation problems during that stretch, says he is returning with a very different approach. 

"It’s very unfortunate to get injured obviously, but I think it was potentially the biggest blessing in disguise for my career," he was quoted as saying by the ATP. "So to be able to take those months and get a new mentality, enjoy playing the sport again and get excited about playing."

It's one of the longest breaks he's had during his career.

"Obviously the biggest difference was just not being on the road every week. It was weird and amazing being home for months at a time," he said. "I was able to spend time with family and friends, so it’s been amazing."

Sock indicated that he is still affected by the injury, particularly on his forehand, but is coming back with a renewed energy for competition. 

"I’m excited to play again, which I haven’t been able to say that in a long time... I’m just going to go be happy on the court and enjoy playing and I’ll be the underdog now, which will be nice," he said.

The Paris Masters finalist had reached a singles career-high No. 8 in 2017 before dropping below the top 200 in 2018, though he still enjoyed doubles success, winning two Grand Slams.

Sock is No. 180 in the rankings.