Home General News Thanasi Kokkinakis is eager to seize his opportunities with Novak Djokovic

Thanasi Kokkinakis is eager to seize his opportunities with Novak Djokovic

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

He knows he shouldn’t, but Thanasi Kokkinakis can’t help but dream of a Wimbledon blockbuster with Novak Djokovic.

Returning for his first All England Club appearance in five years, Kokkinakis will face Pole Kamil Majchrzak on Monday – almost certainly for the right to play Djokovic in the second round.

Only a highly improbable misstep by the first and six-time defending champion against Korean world champion No.75 Soonwoo Kwon could prevent Djokovic from passing.

“Every time you get to take on one of the greatest of all time, it is a dream. You want to play on those big courts and in a great atmosphere,” said Kokkinakis.Thanasi Kokkinakis is eager to seize his opportunities with Novak Djokovic

“So I have to win the first one. That won’t be easy.

“Kamil is a good player. He knocks it down and has a very good backhand – so, especially on grass, it will be a tough game, and I don’t look past anyone.

“But if I get that chance, I would definitely enjoy it.

“It’s definitely in your head, but probably the other guy thinks the same, honestly.”

Guarded by experience, Kokkinakis, who has overcome many painful injuries only to return to Wimbledon in a resurgent season, has previously been in this position.

The 26-year-old had to face Rafael Nadal in January’s second round of the Australian Open.

But two days after taking his first ATP title in his home city of Adelaide, Kokkinakis crashed back to earth with a first-round Melbourne Park defeat to world No. 103 Yannick Hanfmann.

He was then drawn to Spanish face prodigy Carlos Alcaraz in the second round at Roland Garros before breaking loose in his opener against Albert Ramos Vinolas.

Hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

No wonder Kokkinakis tries not to let his mind wander to Djokovic.

“I know that the last two slams I’ve played if I’d won, I’d have played against a really big name, and I’ve never progressed beyond the first,” he said.

“So I don’t take anyone lightly.”

First and foremost, Kokkinakis was focused on getting his battered physique right for Majchrzak after he took a tumble during his only grass field outing of the European summer four weeks ago and injured his left knee in Surbiton.

“I’m still building up a bit. I feel like I’m catching up a bit. It wasn’t ideal preparation, I’m not going to lie,” he said.

“But I think on race day, I’ll be ready to go and give it a shot.”

Seven others will open their campaign on Monday, including James Duckworth against two-time champion Andy Murray.

John Millman plays Miomir Kecmanovic, and Max Purcell makes his Wimbledon debut in singles against Adrian Mannarino.

Women’s wildcard Daria Saville takes on Viktoriya Tomova, while qualifying trio Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma, and Maddison Inglis also get into action.

Hives take on Maria Sakkari, the fifth seed, Sharma plays Tatjana Maria, and Inglis meets Dalma Galfi.

Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios are among the nine Australians starting Tuesday.

Zoe Hives v Maria Sakkari (GRE) Daria Saville v Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) Astra Sharma v Tatjana Maria (GER) Maddison Inglis v Dalma Galfi (HUN)

Thanasi Kokkinakis v Kamil Majchrzak (POL), John Millman v Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB), James Duckworth v Andy Murray (GBR), Max Purcell v Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

Related Articles