- Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis is delighted that he is finally playing at the French Open after eight years
- Kokkinakis got a wildcard to the 2023 Roland Garros tournament
- The Aussie said it felt great winning the match
Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis is delighted that he is finally playing at the French Open after eight years.
Kokkinakis got a wildcard to the 2023 Roland Garros tournament. He overcame a startling string of injuries to advance overnight in Paris to the second round.
Kokkinakis, 27, surprised Great Britain’s 20th seed, Dan Evans, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the French Open despite the little expectation people had of him.
Incredibly, it was a total of 2922 days since Kokkinakis advanced to the third round of the French Open as a youngster in 2015. He ultimately lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Now, this is the first time Kokkinakis is triumphing. With Evans mounting a ferocious comeback, Kokkinakis, who is currently ranked 108th in the world, had to hold him off to win the extraordinary match in straight sets.
Speaking post-match, the Aussie said it felt great winning the match and described Evans as an outstanding player.
“He’s quality player. It was always going to be scrappy. To get it done in straight sets is massive. I’m just very happy with that win,” he told Daily Mail Sport.
Kokkinakis won the 2022 Australian Open doubles with fellow Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, thereby achieving the glorifying heights of the ATP Tour.
However, injuries plague his career and kept him from reaching his full potential. And after receiving one of the most difficult draws possible, Kokkinakis will need more luck than ever to improve his ranking.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka and seasoned clay-court player Albert Ramos-Violas of Spain will in the second-round opponent. He could play against one of them.
Should he win in the second round, Kokkinakis will have a chance to play against world No. 11 Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev (world No. 7), Novak Djokovic, or world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
He admits that this is the most difficult draw he is playing in and he is optimistic that he will get to the finals
Kokkinakis believes he has finally fixed his physique after suffering so many injuries in the first phase of his career.
And the Australian is sure that if he can maintain it, he can have a more successful second half of his career, beginning on the clay courts of Paris.
“When it feels like half of your career has been kind of taken away, you hope you can have a bit at the back end,” he added.
“As long as my body is able to, we’ll see. There was a point when we didn’t think I’d play that much longer and I was 22 years old. I’m 27 now and who knows? Winning is addictive and losing makes you want to quit tennis.”
Meanwhile, Jason Kubler, another Australian tennis star proceeded to the French Open second round after thrashing Argentina’s Lucky Loser Facundo Diaz Acosta.