Thanasi Kokkinakis on his ‘enjoyable’ match against Andy Murray and the ‘energetic’ Carlos Alcaraz
Thanasi Kokkinakis was involved in one of the matches of year so far as he went toe-to-toe with Andy Murray at the Australian Open and, as heartbreaking as the defeat was, the Australian looks back fondly on the encounter.
Kokkinakis and Murray battled for five hours and 45 minutes at Melbourne Park as the latter came from two sets to love down to win an epic five setter with the match finishing 04:05am local time.
Being on the losing side is never fun, especially after such a long match, but the 26-year-old took plenty of positives out of it.
“Although it was a heartbreaking match to be honest and I had it in the bag a few times, as distraught as I was after the match, I actually really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun out there,” he told ATPTour.com. “One of the only times I can say after a big loss, especially one where I was on the front foot the whole time, that I enjoyed it.
“Tennis is so results based that if you don’t win you’re just pissed and obviously I was pissed off, but I can look back at the summer I had and the level of tennis when I was playing at my best and try to take the positives away from that.”
The Australian added: “I’ve gone through worse stuff than losing a tennis match from being in a winning position. In the scheme of things it hurts for a little bit, but I had a lot of good feedback, a lot of people came up to me.
“Some idiots came up to me saying, ‘What happened?’ Not what I really wanted to talk about after, but for the most time it was encouraging signs.”
Kokkinakis has been in good form recently as he won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Manama and also reached the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships last week.
This week he came through qualifying to reach the main draw of the Indian Wells Open and he won his opener against Brandon Holt 6-4, 6-1.
Up next is top seed and reigning US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz.
Kokkinakis is naturally impressed by the 19-year-old Spaniard.
“It’s not just that he’s got no weaknesses, but he just plays with great energy. He plays tennis the right way. He’s always up and about, he’s always smiling,” he said. “I think the crowd loves watching him because his energy is almost contagious. He’s one of my favourite players to watch. Whenever he’s playing, I try to tune in if I’ve got time.”
He continued: “I just like the way he plays. He’s got good firepower, he’s lightning quick, he’s got good hands. I saw it a few years ago just watching some highlights of him. It’s so hard to eclipse what those legends have done in our sports with how many Slams they’ve won, but he’s definitely capable and I think he’s got a shot if he stays healthy for sure.”
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