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Thanasi Kokkinakis on career setbacks and coming back stronger in 2023




Greek Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis sat down recently with Mark Soderstorm for a personal chat about his journey in tennis, The Advertiser has reported.

Speaking on the SodaRoom podcast, Kokkinakis dived into his relationship with Nick Kyrgios and said he is a close friend, having known each other since they competed in kids’ tennis events at nine and ten years old.

He said that even from young Nick “was loud” and that the only difference is there is “just a few more cameras on him now.”

The Greek Australian pair won the Australian Open doubles in 2022 and they aim to defend their title in 2023, despite Kyrgios’ ankle injury causing some doubts.

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios after winning the Australian Men’s double final in 2022. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

Among the triumphs in Kokkinakis’ career, the athlete also reflected on the more challenging times in the sport.

He candidly described his descent into depression after he defeated then World No.1 Roger Federer at the Miami Masters in 2018 but did not win a game after for 492 days.  

“After that it was brutal. I did my full off-season to start the next year. I got glandular fever, missed the Aussie Open, lost 14 kilos, had my tonsils out, was on all these meds and then COVID hit,” he told the SodaRoom podcast.

“At that point I had serious depression.”

Kokkinakis defeated then World No.1 Federer at the Miami Masters in 2018. Photograph: Geoff Burke.

The tennis star said he made it through the hardships with the support of his close family, friends and coach Todd Langman.

He entered 2021 in a different mindset and came to Adelaide at the start of 2022 on the back of a great off-season. Kokkinakis made the semi-finals in the first of the two back-to-back ATP events and won the second, beating Arthur Rinderkech in three sets to win his first singles title on the tour.

“That was definitely an emotional period and definitely the highlight of my career, for sure,” he said.

Speaking on the eve of the Australian Open, Kokkinakis said he’s ready to play his best.

“This year, I’m gonna try and commit a little bit more to the other side of it, where I’m just focused in and just seeing where I can get to ranking-wise,” Kokkinakis said.

“Who knows? It might be good, it might not be good. It might not suit me. But yeah, I’ll give it a nudge.”

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