Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kokkinakis was close to quitting tennis

Kokkinakis was close to quitting tennis

Thanasi Kokkinakis admitted he was closing to quitting tennis because of all the injuries he was suffering.

Thank God he didn't because as a wild card he produced his biggest win at the Queen's main draw by beating Milos Raonic 7-6 7-6.

Kokkinakis, who was out of the ATP tour for 18 weeks, saw his ranking plunged to 698.

"I can give you a whole rundown, but it's just absurd," he said. "Obviously the shoulder was the big one. I tore my oblique, I had osteitis pubis, I tore my pec. I had an elbow issue, and I'm still dealing with my groin and shoulder issues, and my back is stiff.

"I've got a lot of things. I don't know how I'm going to feel when I'm over 30, but this is interesting."

He was so frustrated by his fitness problems that he was on the verge of walking away from the sport for good before the recent French Open.

"I was being serious. I'm usually not a hot head, but in practice a couple weeks leading into it, I was just like breaking racquets every day in practice and that's not me," he said.

"I was just hating it. Winning and playing well in practice was good, but then I wasn't translating.

"I just didn't feel that confident. I felt like some of those issues I was having a long time were still there, and I just wasn't feeling great with my game."

Kokkinakis was talked out of his gloom by his family and coach and opted to give it another shot.

He secured his first Tour level match win for 21 months at 's-Hertogenbosch last week but he lost in the second round and when he was paired with Raonic his expectations weren't high.

So his upset over Raonic was a well-timed and richly-deserved reward for his perseverance.

"I have been pretty resilient during this time. My coach and family are a big part of that," said Kokkinakis, who faces Nicolas Mahut or Daniil Medvedev in the last 16.

"That's the biggest thing for me. Obviously a win like today helps.

"It's huge. Best win of my career. And to do it so soon after coming back on such a long layoff is a huge confidence booster for me."

Photo by AFP Photo/GLYN KIRK