Tennis at the Australian Open would not be the same without the fans, the support for the home players is some of the best around. Having witnessed it in person it sends goosebumps down your spine. Whether it is a player making a break through or comeback at Melbourne Park it is always a special occasion.
This occasion was simply beautiful.
At 8 minutes past 11 at night in Melbourne an 18 year old Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated Ernests Gulbis 5-7 6-0 1-6 7-6 8-6 to on a magnificent night. The noise from the crowd could be heard far down Batman Avenue and the drumming of the advertising boards turned the court into a cauldron with the main ingredient the flawless tennis.
Sadly for Thanasi the last few years have been hit with injuries for The Australian who has suffered badly with shoulder, abdomen and chest injuries since this big breakthrough win and hadn’t won or completed a match at Melbourne Park since
Thanasi who is now 24 also suffered with a terrible bout of glandular fever. During this time he struggled to eat, sleep and was in pain losing a massive 10kg in weight due to this illness but is back this year.
Before the tournament the Aussie wildcard said the break in the sport helped him stay fit and and to see him back and winning was fantastic.
Thanasi was up against Kwon Soon-woo in round one who had never won a match on two previous visits to Melbourne Park and will be hopefully on the hunt for it in 2022 after losing 4-6 1-6 1-6 to the Australian.
The Aussie set out his intentions quite quickly out on Court 3 breaking his opponents serve immediately in the opening game. After consolidating the break there was no looking back from Thanasi who didn’t give up much on his serve and played quite nicely as he took the opener 6-4.
It did turn into a bit of a runaway, I liked the pace and rhythm being his ground strokes and he maintained an excellent level throughout and that is a credit to him.
The performance from Thanasi wasn’t just a comeback win, it was a solid performance. He served well, took break point opportunities and kept his errors way down to now set up an interesting clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas and I hope this gets put on Rod Laver Arena!
Tears of joy but a good sight for tennis to have Thanasi back!
Thanasi did beat Roger Federer from a set down in Miami in 2018 winning 3-6 6-3 7-6 and it was nice to see Federer send him a congratulations match following the win!