Adelaide International 2022: Support from Federer, Djokovic stuns Thanasi Kokkinakis after first title
Australia's Kokkinakis said he was shocked Sunday to receive messages of support from tennis legends Djokovic and Federer after breaking through for his first professional title.
Melbourne: Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis said he was shocked Sunday to receive messages of support from tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after breaking through for his first professional title.
Home favourite Kokkinakis claimed the first ATP title Saturday after downing Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in three sets in the Adelaide International final.
No sooner had Kokkinakis left the court than he received a text message from Federer and later from Djokovic, surprising the popular Australian, whose career has been blighted by injury.
"Roger just messaged me out of nowhere. It was pretty unreal to see that," Kokkinakis told reporters at the Australian Open on Sunday.
"Actually, Djokovic messaged me today, as well. It's good having support from two legends of the game," he said, speaking before the news of Djokovic's failed court bid to stave off deportation from Australia had reached Melbourne Park.
"It's awesome having that support, two guys that have done so much, to reach out to me. Obviously they know it means a lot to me.
"They've won about a million of them, so it was probably pretty minor to them, but to me it's massive. It was pretty sweet to have them reach out.
"Novak's obviously got a bit on his plate right now. For him to reach out and take the time out, it means a lot."
Kokkinakis will have little time to celebrate his Adelaide triumph with an opening round match at the Australian Open against Germany's Yannick Hanfmann late Monday.
"I'm not looking ahead at all though. I've got a tough player who has won three quality matches in qualifying," he said.
"He's obviously playing some good tennis, been around, felt the courts, played out.
"I've just got to be ready to go mentally. It's the most tennis I've probably ever played in such a short amount of time.
"Then to back up and play a Grand Slam, five sets, with only a day off. I think I've played five days in a row. It's going to take a bit of an effort from me but I feel good. I just got to be sharp and ready to go."
Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 to beat three top-five players at the same event.
Rafael Nadal, who turns 36 on 3 June, is playing his final warm-up in Rome this week before attempting to add to his record total of 13 French Open titles.
Djokovic, who is in his record-extending 369th week at World No 1, must reach at least the semi-finals in Rome to hold onto the number one spot.