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Thanasi Kokkinakis – currently number 145 in the ATP rankings. However, he has had the most phenomenal start to the 2022 season! Kokkinakis has made the semi-finals in Adelaide 1, losing to an in-form Monfils. And the following week, he has already claimed his first title at the Adelaide 2 event. Within these two weeks, he has managed to beat Tiafoe, Isner, Cilic, Millman, and Paire – all reputable names on tour. And I have to say, the way he played in Adelaide 2 was just remarkable.
So now, with all eyes on the 2022 Australian Open, people are starting to wonder about Australia’s hopes. You’ve got guys like Kyrgios, de Minaur, Duckworth, Millman, Popyrin, and Thompson all ahead of Kokkinakis. But is he actually Australia’s best hope right now? Let’s take a closer look.
Kokkinakis – A Potential Dark Horse Down Under?
I may as well share my opinion on this immediately – I believe that yes, he is Australia’s main hope at the event. He might be ranked the lowest out of the names I’ve mentioned, but who could write him off with the way he is playing? I feel he could go deep in the event for the following reasons:
Having watched him play in Adelaide 2, he looked incredibly determined. There was none of the petulance seen with other Australian players. He simply stuck with his game plan, stayed focused, remained positive, and got the job done. This is essential for Grand Slam success, which is why he could do well in Australia. And let’s be honest, he’s going to need all of these skills with the draw that he has!
Although we are only a few weeks into the 2022 season, it’s already clear who took the off-season seriously. Kokkinakis has clearly trained hard and put in the work, both on and off the court. This has helped him to do well in Adelaide 1 and pick up the tournament win during Adelaide 2. He has managed to squeeze through some tight matches too, which cannot be done without confidence and self-belief.
If we face facts, guys like Kyrgios won’t always have the crowd support due to his rather spicy personality. Sure, on his day the crowd will definitely get behind him, but Kokkinakis is more consistent with his efforts. He tries hard and fights to the death, which is why I feel that the crowd will get behind him in a big way. This will also be essential when he faces some tough opposition.
Style of Play
He might be ranked well outside of the world’s top 100, but don’t let this fool you. He has a great serve, a solid backhand, and a big forehand. And while he can play pretty attacking, he is also not too shabby when required to defend. This variety means that he will be a handful for anyone during the tournament. Again, this will help him to ruffle the feathers of even the bigger names in the event!
And since he has a potential clash with Nadal in round two, he’s going to need all of these weapons!