Jack Sock sat courtside and gave his shoulders a little shake, for the first time in a long while it wasn't a shrug of resignation.
"I just looked over at my team and I was signaling I was getting the monkey off your back," Sock said after a 6-0, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over Argentina's Guido Andreozzi in the first round of the US Open on Monday.
"I was obviously getting it off my back as well. Felt like King Kong was on my back there for awhile."
Sock, who ended 2017 ranked eighth in the world, hadn't won a singles match since a first-round victory over David Ferrer at the Rome Masters in May.
He'd exited in the first round of the last four Grand Slams, including at Flushing Meadows last year.
He hurt a hip practicing after Wimbledon, falling so hard, he said, he couldn't walk for a few days.
“It's been a tough road for a little bit here," said the 25-year-old, who kept his spirits up with some successful doubles forays, including a Wimbledon doubles crown with fellow American Mike Bryan.
"I know the level of tennis I can play. And it hasn't shown in every match this year," said Sock, a four-time winner on the ATP tour who has tried to stay positive in the face of adversity.
"Unless your name is Federer, Djokovic, or Nadal, you're probably not winning most weeks," Sock said. "I know if I'm playing good tennis and I'm doing all things right, I can compete to win almost every tournament I play."