Australian sports fans have shared a wave of emotion for Adelaide Thanassi Kokkinakis’ talent after bursting into tears after his first victory at the Australian Open since 2015, but there was a very special supporter who turned out for the Aussie.
It was heartwarming scenes as Kokkinakis was overcome with emotion after knocking down Korean Kwon Soon-woo 6-4 6-1 6-1 in a dominant display to mark his categorical return to the stage.
Kokkinakis’ career has been sorely injured since he made his way into the top 100 six years ago, with his current ranking of 267 being its lowest since 2017.
He was forced to retire injured in his last Melbourne appearance in 2019, before completely missing the tournament last year due to glandular fever.
Arguably one of Australia’s most natural talents, it has been hard work for Kokkinakis who has been forced to sit and watch on the sidelines for too long.
But Tuesday’s win could perhaps be the reprieve Kokkinakis awaited as he looked to do better against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round on Thursday.
But that’s a message from a very special supporter who has filled the Australian with validation as he looks to make this year’s slam race.
Speaking to Twitter after his match, Kokkinakis posted a screenshot of none other than tennis GOAT Roger Federer himself, who slipped into his DM to send a personal message to the Australian.
“Nice, Thanaser,” Federer, who chose to stay home to watch his body, sent from all over the world.
Kokkinakis posted the screenshot with the caption: “What a king.”
It’s an important move from the Swiss maestro who has remained relatively calm since his withdrawal from the Australian summer, choosing to break his AO silence with a personal message for the 24-year-old.
Kokkinakis also holds a 1-0 record on the Fed, having toppled it in 2018.
Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has also released his own tribute to the talent.
“When people say it’s just a game they really have no idea what an athlete is going through, the effects are euphoric and the lows are devastating, self esteem is based on your result”, at he tweeted.
“So, so happy for TKokkinakis, he deserved this win and still some good breaks.”
Australian Open Presser Round 1: Clothing shopping with Thanasi Kokkinakis