Thanasi Kokkinakis after brutal win: ‘S*** I have to go again in two days’
Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed a marathon win over “legend” Stan Wawrinka at the French Open and admitted afterwards it is “crazy” that the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal can pull off similar heroics so often at Grand Slams.
Earlier this year the world No 108 was on the receiving end of a five-set defeat at the hands of Andy Murray at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park and that encounter certainly passed through his mind as Wawrinka mounted a comeback after finding himself two sets to love down.
Although Wawrinka took the match to a fifth set and also fought back after being 0-4 behind in the deciding set, it was Kokkinakis who emerged victorious this time as he secured a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 win in four hours and 38 minutes.
Kokkinakis, into the third round of the French Open for the first time since 2015, will be looking to secure his maiden Grand Slam last 16 appearance when he takes on 11th seed Karen Khachanov.
But for now he needs to recover although his epic win made him realise just how brilliant the likes of Djokovic and Nadal are.
“It’s just crazy how guys like Djokovic and Nadal have won 20 of these. This stuff is so hard, to be honest. To try and win five sets is brutal. It’s a pain, especially on clay. It’s a massive relief, and then you’re, like, shit, hang on, I have to go again in two days. I’m just going to swear. I’m sorry. It’s me,” he joked during his press conference.
“This stuff is so hard, so for people watching at home, it’s like, oh, you should be able to do that or whatever. They don’t understand how hard it is and how impressive these guys are.”
The 27-year-old was also full of praise for three-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka.
“Stan is a legend,” he said. “Still is, obviously, but he was a legend out on court today. He was very nice, very respectful. Yeah, hats off to him. The first set and a half he was playing, I think the best tennis he can play. I was just trying to hang in there.
“I lost a match in a Grand Slam earlier this year against (Andy) Murray from two sets to love [up], I didn’t want to do it against another legend.”
One person who will be delighted with the win is Kokkinakis’ great friend Nick Kyrgios as the 2022 Wimbledon runner-up tweeted during the match: “Going to bed, I don‘t want to wake up and see Kokki lose another thriller please.”
Going to bed, I don’t want to wake up and see Kokki lose another thriller please ☹️
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) May 31, 2023
Kokkinakis said: “Hopefully, he can wake up a bit happier now – I definitely will be.
“They’re the fun ones, they’re what you play for. Against legends who make it really tough on you.
“You can’t count these guys out no matter how old they are. They just play. They get better and better, and you can see why they are multiple Grand Slam champions.”
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