Thanasi Kokkinakis “can’t wait” after breaking his Wimbledon hoodoo to set up a second-round blockbuster with three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Five long years since his last appearance at the All England Club, Kokkinakis continued his 2022 renaissance with a watershed 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-5 victory over Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak on Monday.
After two previous first-round defeats, plus two unsuccessful qualifying campaigns, the 26-year-old is finally savouring his maiden win on London’s hallowed grass courts.
“I’m super happy with how the result panned out. A lot of doubt coming into the tournament. Wasn’t sure how I’d pull up, how I’d play, if I would even play,” Kokkinakis said, having hurt his left knee in an on-court tumble at Surbiton three weeks ago.
“Can’t wait. Can’t wait for the opportunity,” Kokkinakis said.
“Definitely was in the back of my mind playing that match. I obviously saw the draw.
“I’m not one of those people that doesn’t look ahead. I knew I had a tough match obviously first, but definitely knew what was at stake.”
Novak Djokovic has revealed the tale which saw him deported from Australia ahead of the Grand Slam In Australia in January challenged him emotionally but insisted the incident no longer affected him on the court.
The 35-year-old was asked post-match on Monday whether the deportation and coming so close to the coveted Golden Slam – winning all four Grand Slam events and the Olympic gold in the same year – still weighed on him.
“Yes because I’ve experienced something that I’ve never experienced in my life in Australia,” he said.
Thanasi Kokkinakis’ 2022 so far:
First ATP singles title
The first grand slam doubles title
Returns to Australia’s Davis Cup team after seven years
Returns to the top 100 singles rankings
First Wimbledon main draw singles victory, The revival continues.