It wasn’t long before a heartwarming story came to the fore during the 2022 ATP Tour season.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, whose career has been marked by injury and illness, won his first tour level title at the Adelaide International 2 on Saturday. The 25-year-old Australian was visibly emotional within moments of taking the championship.
“When I get good wins, play in front of a full house, it reminds you why you keep doing it, why you get up in the morning, do the training sessions, spend countless hours rehabilitating from injuries that you may never come back from. It just makes it all worth it,” said Kokkinakis. “In front of Mom and Dad, and seeing the tears in their eyes as I hugged them after the game, these are the moments you live for.
“Who knows, not many people get the chance to win a title. For me to do it at home, kinda in my comeback, I just started playing again, hope this is just the beginning for me. ”
In the wake of his big win, Kokkinakis has received a lot of support from his peers. Later in the evening, Kokkinakis revealed on Instagram that he had received a message from former world champion Roger Federer.
“Girl title at home big dude love the sound of that Thanaser. Amazing…keep it up,” Federer wrote.
You May Also Like: Kokkinakis Claims First ATP Tour Title At Home In Adelaide
One of the biggest wins of Kokkinakis’ career came against Federer in Miami in 2018. Then world No. 175, he became the lowest-ranking player to beat a world No. 1 in 15 years. The Swiss was happy to compliment the Aussie.
“He’s a cool guy, a cool attitude. I know him well. He has been to Dubai a few times to practice with me,” Federer said at the time. “We have worked very hard together. I’ve always loved his game.”
Kokkinakis’ old friend, fellow countryman Nick Kyrgios, was also quick to celebrate the victory.
“I am so proud [especially with] everything you’ve been through, my little brother,” Kyrgios wrote in an Instagram story featuring an old photo of the couple together.
“Congratulations!! Great to see you holding that trophy,” tweeted WTA legend Kim Clijsters.
Congratulations !! Great to see you holding that trophy
— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) January 15, 2022
It has been a long journey for Kokkinakis. At the start of the season, he had only reached one semifinal of the ATP Tour. Not only did he hit another one in Adelaide last week, but he followed up this week with his dream performance at the same venue.
It wasn’t easy to get to this point, which wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott alluded to on social media.
“Seriously behind the scenes, the absolute mountain of work this dude has done is unbelievable to watch. And more importantly a ripping dude,” Alcott tweeted. “You fucking deserve this brother!”
Seriously behind the scenes, the absolute mountain of work this guy has put in has been incredible to watch. And more importantly is a ripping guy. You fucking deserve this brother! #kokkinakis @TKokkinakis pic.twitter.com/beM0IUgSxe
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) January 15, 2022
Other stars who congratulated Kokkinakis on social media include Mark Philippoussis, Janko Tipsarevic, John Isner, Jeremy Chardy and Daria Saville (née Gavrilova).
Kokkinakis will now prepare for his first round match at the Australian Open against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.