Kokkinakis now calls Melbourne home and is excited to take to the court before a supportive crowd.
“It still gives you chills every time you walk out there. It’s the best,” Kokkinakis said.
“I love this city more than anything. Just the buzz and the atmosphere around a Grand Slam, especially in the state you’re living in, it’s pretty special.”
Kokkinakis is coming off another deep run at the Adelaide International, with a semifinal loss to Roberto Bautista Agut occurring 12 months after he won the title.
“I think I’ve got a bit more in me this time than I did last year,” said 26-year-old Kokkinakis.
“I got a Tuesday (start) which helps. I probably needed one more day last year.”
Kokkinakis lost his opening round match to Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann at AO 2022 in straight sets, having played nine times in the previous 12 days.
“I still wouldn’t have changed it for anything, winning that title last year in Adelaide,” he added. “This year I come in a little fresher, with a couple more days up my sleeve to get used to it.”
Kokkinakis is also prepared to use the crowd more than he did 12 months ago, after admitting he tried too hard to stay in his own bubble last year.
“At least I think I know what to expect this time around. Last year was something. I was expecting it to be loud, but I wasn’t expecting it to be like that.
“Last year I was trying to kind of combat the crowd a little bit by kind of being relaxed and try to focus on myself. I don’t think I brought enough energy.”
Kokkinakis is ranked world No.159, but with wins over Maxime Cressy, Andrey Rublev, Alexei Popyrin and Miomir Kecmanovic already this year, he feels his best tennis is close.
“Although I won the tournament in Adelaide last year, I feel like I’m playing better tennis this time around,” he added.
“I want to reach my career high again. My goal is to try and win another title and break inside the top 50.”
Kokkinakis launches his AO 2023 campaign against Italian veteran and former world No.9 Fabio Fognini today on the Kia Arena in Melbourne
- He began playing tennis when he was eight years old
- Goal is to be No.1 in the world and play Davis Cup for Australia
- Most influential people on his career to date are his brother, parents and his first coach
- Favourite player is Frenchman Gael Monfils “because he is so entertaining”
- Represented Australian in the ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in 2010
- Was a finalist in the Australian Open 2013 boys’ singles championships (l. Nick Kyrgios)
- Won the Wimbledon 2013 doubles title with compatriot Nick Kyrgios
- First-round victory at Australian Open 2014 (over Igor Sijsling) was first ever tour-level victory
- Made Davis Cup debut for Australia in February 2014 against France; contested a dead rubber
- Captured first professional title at ITF Futures event in Saskatoon, Canada
- Won his first Davis Cup live rubber for Australia in a 2015 World Group first round tie v Czech Republic, coming from two-sets-to-love down to beat Lukas Rosol in Ostrava
- Underwent shoulder surgery in late 2015; did not play in 2016
- Made a triumphant return in 2017 with wins over World No.10 Milos Raonic at Queen’s Club and No.15 Tomas Berdych at Los Cabos
- Teamed with fellow Australian Jordan Thompson to win the 2017 Brisbane International, his first ATP doubles title
- Sidelined in early 2020 with glandular fever
- Won Australian Open 2022 men’s doubles title alongside Nick Kyrgios
- Hobbies include playing basketball, Playstation and watching TV
- My favourite music is techno, hip-hop, R’n’B, Michael Jackson, David Guetta and Ministry of Sound compilations
- My favourite food is pizza