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An Interview With: Thanasi Kokkinakis

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Q. Was that among your more devastating losses?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah. Probably the most. It's just frustrating 'cause I started playing good tennis. I was getting fired up. 1-All, 30-Love in the fourth set, I was bouncing the ball. Then, yeah, immediately I started to feel my forearm go. I'm like, Oh, no, this is bad. I didn't feel tired physically either, which is the most frustrating thing about it. I actually felt all right. My energy levels were good, and then I went up to hit a swing and volley or something, and both my calves -- it was just disaster. Yeah, I'm pretty shattered.

Q. Have you had that happen to you before?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I had it happen in my first Grand Slam match when I was 17. But I was starting to feel fatigued there. Like my whole body, I was starting to feel tired. This one, my body felt fine. Then I just went to bounce the ball with my left arm. Once my forearm goes, everything else is going to go. I'm in a bit of strife. I was a lot thinner and weaker back then. I felt pretty good physically, but, yeah.

Q. The umpire said you needed to think about your well-being.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I wanted to keep going because I had it happen when I was 17. The other guy was struggling then, too. I was able to find a way there. It was actually okay. But once it went here, I started to feel it everywhere, different spots on different shots. I was, like, this is tortuous for everyone watching as well. It was frustrating. Yeah, I didn't want to do it.

Q. Talk me through your emotions. What was going through your head with Davis Cup coming up?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I was playing good tennis. Would have been one of the biggest wins of my career. Maybe the emotions. I don't know if I got too fired up. If I want to play good tennis, I still have to play. Yeah, the crowd was trying to help me. I thank them for that. Yeah, I was trying to push through. I hit the odd slat winner there, but I couldn't sustain that. And with a player like him, if you're not 100%, he's going to move you around. I was dust.

Q. How are you feeling now?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I'm all right. I'm a little sore. Drunk a ridiculous amount of liquids. A little bit of cramping in the shower but nothing too severe. I'm okay. Frustrated. I'm pissed off more than anything.

Q. Your name has been in the news for other reasons. Have you and Nick squared away that whole thing? Are you still a little angry at him?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I'm past it. We talked. It's sorted. It's not really an issue for me anyway at the moment. I've known him for ages. One little thing isn't going to change too much. That's not ideal what happened, but I've talked to him. I've talked to everyone in the incident. I've moved past it and I'm sure they will, too.

Q. Right after the match, do you think when are going to look back, there was a way to prevent what happened?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: There's always ways. I need to look into what I need to do to reduce it next time. Maybe I should have hydrated earlier. I'm not sure. I wish there was a crystal ball that I knew what would do it. As I said, my fitness felt fine. That wasn't the reason. I wasn't tired. I had just won the third set. I was pumped up, feeling good. Maybe I'll look into researching a bit more and try to get my tests done so it doesn't happen again because there's nothing more frustrating.

Q. You were supposed to play doubles with Nick. What happened?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, I don't know. I saw all these messages that we were playing doubles together. I know we missed the entry deadline. Everyone was saying we were in, but I knew myself we weren't. So I don't know. That was pretty much it.

Q. Do you just feel like Nick got caught in the emotions of the moment on the court, wasn't even aware what he was doing? Has he explained it that way?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, probably. It happened two weeks ago. As I've said, I've moved past it. I'm sure you guys will at some point, too. Yeah, he was obviously frustrated. He felt Stan was giving him something. I was watching the match. I didn't really see too much. Then my Twitter blew up. He said it. Yeah, he plays on a lot of emotions. I don't think he meant to get at his opponent. But, yeah, he said some stuff. I'm sure he regrets what he said. But it's out of my control.

Q. What are your movements now? Will you stay in New York for a while or get over to Scotland?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, look, no disrespect to Scotland. I don't think I'll be getting there too early.

Q. I don't blame you.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: My family flew over. I'm disappointed they saw that happen. I was playing good tennis, as I said, up until. I'll talk with Lleyton and the guys, see what they want me to do. I'll probably take tomorrow off, train up again, obviously hydrate, eliminate this from the next time happening.

Q. Australian players are in the news this year, not only in a positive way. We heard Rod Laver talk about the young generation, mentioned your time, Kyrgios, Tomic. How would you reestablish Australian tennis? Do you need a meeting with these old legends, Wally Masur, in the next couple months?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't think we need a meeting. The legends are doing what they want to do. They're old, they can do what they want. They've done so many great things for the sport. We're young. Tennis is a bit different now. I don't know, we're all trying to find our way through. I'm sure they're trying to work on some of the stuff they need to do mentally and their behavior on court. At the end of the day, winning matches cures a lot of things, I mean, as long as you don't cross the line.

Q. You don't think they can help, assist the Federation and the young guys?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: They've been doing that. They've been nothing but respectful and nice to every one of us going through. At the end of the day you're on the court. You don't think, What would the legends do? You try to get the win for yourself. They've been nothing but supportive and nice, all of them. It's good we can have such a history like that. But when you're playing on court, that doesn't really come into your head, What would Newcombe and those guys try to do? You're trying to win for yourself. 

Q. What's the best piece of advice you've gotten from Lleyton about on the court, off the court?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's probably nothing he's said but just everything he does. There wouldn't be one big thing. Just at his age, his intensity, what he's bringing now, he's done it for so long, to see that fire he still has every day. I've never see him take one ball off where he's just tanked it, made an error. He's always fighting every point, every practice session. That's something we can take through, yeah.