Who is Thanasi Kokkinakis?

Kokkinakis

Photo Courtesy of News.com.au

Thanasi Kokkinakis qualified for the Cincinnati main draw today where he will face Fabio Fognini. The 19 year old has been making himself known on the  ATP Tour this season, beating Ernests Gulbis at the Australian Open, and reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells. The Tennis Review profiles this exciting young up and coming player.

Junior Career

Kokkinakis was a runner up at the 2013 Australian Open (lost to Kyrgios) and U.S Open juniors (lost to Coric).

Playing style

Kokkinakis has a big serve- he is 6ft6. That gives him a lot of free points and a lot of short balls to come in on – in 2015, he has averaged a 60 % first serve percentage and wins 74% of points behind that delivery.

He is a powerful player, with potential  with big ground-strokes, a double handed backhand, and his forehand is a weapon, with a lot of range.

Kokkinakis is an aggressive player and likes to step inside the court and take control of points.

Early ATP Tour days

Kokkinakis played his first ATP event in 2014 at Brisbane, qualifying for the main draw before going down to Llyeton Hewitt in the opening round.

A week later, ranked 570, he beat 73rd ranked Igor Sisling in the first round of his home slam The Australian open before Rafael Nadal defeated him in straight sets.

After losing in the first round of the Open 13 ATP 250 event as a wildcard, Kokkinakis focused more on getting his ranking up by competing on the Futures and Challenger Circuits, reaching the semi-finals of Heillbron II and winning the Canada F5.

Kokkinakis made a mark on the ATP Pro tour when, ranked 199, he beat 59th ranked Marinko Matosevic in the final round of qualifying for the ATP 1000 Canadian Open before falling to 21st ranked Kevin Anderson in three sets.

In Shanghai 2014 he qualified for his second ATP 1000 tournament. He took the first set against 21st ranked Feliciano Lopez in a tiebreaker before losing the match in three.

Kokkinakis

Photo courtesy of rippa.com

2015 Breakthough Top 100 and Roland Garros Round Three

Kokkinakis got 2015 off to a great start when he made the fourth round of the Sydney Open, beating 25th ranked Julien Benneteau before losing to compatriot Barnard Tomic.

Kokkinakis would then hit the headlines when he upset struggling 13th seed Ernests Gulbis in the Australian Open first round in a five set epic.

The season has gone from strength to strength for Kokkinakis as he qualified for four tournament in a row (Memphis, Delray Beach, Acapulco and Indian Wells). In Indian Wells, he beat 48th ranked veteran Juan Monaco in a three set thriller.

The Clay season was a successful one as he qualified for Istanbul and Madrid and though he went out in the first round both times, he broke into the ATP top 100 to world No.98.

He then suffered some bad luck, missing his flight from Madrid to Rome. In order to not miss out on match practise before the French Open, Kokkinakis entered qualifying for a Challenger in Bordeaux, made the main draw and then won the event.

The 19 year old then went on to reach his first round of 32 in a Slam, at Roland Garros, where he pushed Novak Djokovic to three 6-4 sets.

Since then, Kokkinakis has gone 1-2 on the tour, beating Chardy at the AEGON classic but going out in the first round of Wimbledon. He also entered qualifying for Montreal but was beaten in the first round.

Controversy.

Kokkinakis has not been out of the headlines in 2015, and recently for, unfortunately, all the wrong reasons. His name came up in Kyrgios’ comments to Wawrinka about the Swiss’ rumoured girlfriend Donna Vekic, and then, a few days later, he was involved in an almost physical dispute with Ryan Harrison in the first round of qualifying for Cincinnati.

Future prospects:

Kokkinakis is one of four teens in the top 100 (Zverev, Coric, Chung) and is likely to feature in the top 3 in the next five or six years.

The Slams he will most likely succeed at will be the slower courts of Melbourne and Paris where his baseline skills and aggression can prosper the most.

Check out other articles in our Who is Series:

Who is Alexander Zverev?

Who Is Borna Coric?

Commentary by Christian Deverille.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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