Thanasi Kokkinakis has confirmed that he and Nick Kyrgios will defend his Australian Open doubles crown. The ‘Special Ks’ took the crown last year in extraordinary scenes, securing their single grand slam doubles titles.
The Australian stars wowed the tennis world with their dazzling career, with fans flocking to their matches at Melbourne Park and creating a raucous and sometimes controversial atmosphere. And they will do it again in 2023 after Kokkinakis confirmed on Sunday night that Special K are reuniting.
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“We will play the Aussie (Australian Open). Doubles is much less demanding on the body and mentally it’s a bit easier as well,” Kokkinakis told reporters in Adelaide. “Obviously singles are our priority, but I think it would be rude not to go out and have fun.”
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis also won the doubles title at the Atlanta Open in August, beating compatriots John Peers and Jason Kubler in the final. your stellar year saw them qualify for the ATP Finalswhere they lost to Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in the group stage.
Meanwhile, Kokkinakis is set to play both editions of his home event at the Adelaide International, which kicks off on Sunday. After the first tournament, he will also defend his first ATP singles title at the second tournament next week (both in Adelaide).
Kyrgios is also due to play in week two, however his participation is under a cloud after he retired from Australia United Cup squad with an ankle injury last week. Kokkinakis said he wasn’t sure if his good partner would lead in Adelaide, however he was confident Kyrgios would be fit to play doubles at the Australian Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis joins the star-studded field in Adelaide
Kokkinakis won the Adelaide title (week two) last year after beating Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in an epic final. He was pushed to three sets in three of his wins prior to that.
His first ATP title came after he also reached the semifinals at the first Adelaide tournament and was defeated by eventual champion Gael Monfils. On Sunday, the Australian star admitted that the heavy workload took its toll once he arrived at Melbourne Park, but he said he had no regrets.
“I felt like I had a marathon in almost every game in that second week,” said the 26-year-old. “I was pretty busy coming to Australia, but I wouldn’t trade it any other way.
“It was a blessing and a curse, it was obviously my best week on tour and an amazing time. Even though I lost and was pretty prepared for AO, I wouldn’t have traded it.”
Kokkinakis picked up a wild card into this week’s Adelaide draw, which is packed with talent. Novak Djokovic is playing in Adelaide for his first time in Australia since he was deported last January before the Australian Open. The 21-time Grand Slam champion will face Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the first round in Adelaide.
Former world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, now ranked seventh, takes on Lorenzo Sonego of Italy. World number 6 from Canada, Felix Auger-Aliassime, is the second seed and will face a qualifier.
Kokkinakis will play American world number 34 Maxime Cressy, while Jordan Thompson will face Frenchman Quentin Halys and another Australian Chris O’Connell will face Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.
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