Wished. A brand new hero for Australian tennis within the post-Ash Barty period.
Simply do not count on one apparent candidate, Thanasi Kokkinakis, to use for the job.
As a result of he is been there. Executed that. And now it is time for him to only be nearly as good as he may be.
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“Look, I’m not trying to not put too much pressure on myself as far being the next big thing coming out of Australia,” says Kokkinakis, when requested by AAP if he felt he nonetheless had the star energy to get Australian tennis all a flutter.
“I’ve seen how that goes. One minute, you’re a star and then for five years you’re all washed up – I know how it works!
“And I am not nervous about it an excessive amount of – I am simply going to maintain attempting to play and to maintain bettering.”
Not that the 26-year-old hasn’t appreciated the goodwill and glowing publicity that’s surrounded his feelgood tennis resurrection.
Kokkinakis, remember, was the boy wonder, the Roger Federer slayer, the boom-boom Adelaide tyro who seemed as if he could be anything he wanted to be in tennis until the dreaded injuries came, drip by drip, to deliver those ‘washed up’ years.
So his rejuvenation at the turn of the year was a thrill for everyone – not least himself.
“Massively..Massively!” he enthuses, when asked if he feels his career has been given a kiss of life.
“The beginning of this yr was every thing for me.
“The semi-final (in Adelaide), then winning (a title) at home for the first time (the following week), then winning the doubles with Nick (Kyrgios) at the Australian Open, it definitely sparked my career back – and then some.
“I additionally made my equal-best end in a Masters (reaching the fourth spherical in Miami) after that. I actually could not have requested for something extra.
“I’d said it was going to be my last year on tour unless something happened – then I had those two tournaments under my belt in January, it’s kind of everything to me.
“I assumed I will have time to take pleasure in my tennis a bit extra however the steadiness is to not get complacent and attempt to set new objectives and preserve myself motivated, as a result of I understand how huge a struggle it was simply to get again so far, and now I will attempt to do my greatest to maintain it going.”
Which brings us to Roland Garros, where the teenage Kokkinakis reached the third round back in 2015 and is now looking for an even better run, starting on Sunday as one of the first Australians in action against Spain’s tough clay-courter Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“My sport fits clay very well. I at all times got here in slightly bit underdone (for Roland Garros), not fairly prepared – however really feel good this yr,” he says.
Kokkinakis had a striking win over Fabio Fognini in Geneva last week and Sydneysider Alexei Popyrin, fresh from an impressive win in a Challenger event in Bordeaux, will attempt to repeat the dose against the 34-year-old Italian maverick.
First Australian on duty will be wildcard Chris O’Connell, up against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, and he’ll be followed later on court 8 by Astra Sharma, the only Aussie woman in action.
AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION ON DAY ONE AT THE FRENCH OPEN ON SUNDAY:
Chris O’Connell (wildcard) v Aljaz Bedene (Slo)
Alexei Popyrin v Fabio Fognini (Ita)
Thanasi Kokkinakis v Albert Ramos-Violas (Esp)
Jason Kubler (qualifier) v Denis Kudla (USA)
Astra Sharma v Varvara Gracheva (Rus)