Jack Sock has passed qualifying to end a four-year absence from the main draw at Wimbledon – after narrowly missing out on a wildcard less than a week ago, writes Oli Dickson Jefford during Wimbledon qualifying.
A former world No. 8 and a four-time ATP title winner in his prime, Sock effectively dropped the ATP rankings at the end of 2019 after having to undergo surgery on torn ligaments in his left thumb.
With the 2020 Championships canceled amid the pandemic and his ranking not high enough last summer, this year’s qualifying event offered him the chance to play at the All England Club for the first time since 2018.
Sock entered a rich vein of form after reaching the LTA’s Ilkley Trophy final, although it was a bittersweet experience for the world No. 102.
Had he converted match point and beaten Zizou Bergs – who prevailed in a final set tiebreaker – it would likely have been him, not the Belgian, who would have received one of Wimbledon’s last wildcards. .
Physically, the 29-year-old wasn’t sure how he would fare after his fling with Ilkley, but mentally he thinks it could prove to be an advantage.
“If you had told me that on Sunday night after losing at Ilkley with a match point for a joker – to have this week off – I would have said that might be a bit of a stretch,” said Sock, who has defeated Hugo Grenier in straight sets to seal his place in the main draw.
“I had played a lot of tennis, a lot of three-set matches last week, so I was delighted to hopefully have a week off, but to do that too is obviously amazing.
“I’ve had more time on the grass and I feel good about my game. Obviously I’m going to have some momentum for next week so I’m excited.
“I am no longer a young male. The week off with training would have been nice physically but mentally I have a lot of confidence for next week now.
In singles terms, SW19 hasn’t been the happiest hunting ground for the American, with a third-round appearance in 2016 his best performance.
However, after twice winning the men’s doubles – with Vasek Pospisil in 2014 and Mike Bryan in 2018 – he will be hoping to get his feet back on the grass at Wimbledon.
Sock commented: “Obviously with Vasek, our first time playing together, winning the tournament was pretty crazy.
“To play half the GOAT team with Mike Bryan, to be able to share the field with him, to do that race was amazing, and we finished it with the year-end championships in London.
“I love this city, I love the UK in general. I feel like I have great fans here, great memories in this city in general.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully staying for a few more weeks.”
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