Kokkinakis Kicks Off Comeback In Bordeaux
“It feels good, it’s been a while,” stated Kokkinakis. “I played my last proper ATP World Tour match in October 2015 (in Valencia), I just can’t wait to get onto the singles court really. The biggest target is to stay healthy. I hope the results will come, but I need to stay on court healthy and build up my work load from there.”
The 21 year old burst into prominence in 2015, reaching a career-high No. 69 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, before shoulder surgery halted his blossoming career. A brief return in January 2017 witnessed Kokkinakis partner his countryman Jordan Thompson to lift the doubles trophy on home soil at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. However, he tore his external oblique when striking a serve in the final game in Brisbane to clinch his maiden ATP World Tour title.
Since January, the determined Adelaide resident has dealt with a minor elbow issue, while rebuilding his on-court game and stamina. A series of inspiring hits with Roger Federer in Dubai and the unwavering support of family and friends have kept Kokkinakis on track. “I’ve tried to stay positive, to keep working hard, to work on my game as much as I can and to stay hungry. I’ve been leaning on my family and friends really, but a lot of motivation comes from myself, it’s what I’ve grown up doing. I need to keep working hard to get back to where I was and even better.”
He was back on court in Bordeaux, France, in doubles action with fellow Australian Alex Bolt, reaching the quarter-finals (losing to third seeds Raja/Sharan in a match tie-break) and back at the scene of his lone ATP Challenger Tour title. He lifted the singles trophy at the 2015 event at the historic Villa Primrose Tennis Club, where he has reflected on his journey back to competitive action in this interview.