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January 21, 2015

Thanasi Kokkinakis


S. GROTH/T. Kokkinakis
3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you take away from a game like that?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, tough match. My returning needs to get better. I'll take that away. I don't know. I think I just need to learn how to manage my time maybe a little bit better in between my first match and my second match. It was a new experience for me playing my first match. I just need to learn how to recover a little bit better, because I was feeling pretty sore and flat going into the match. So I need to work on that.

Q. What did you do between?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't know. I thought I did all the right things. I had like three ice baths; tried acupuncture for the first time to see if that would work. I felt flat coming into the match. It's tough. You need a lot of explosiveness against his serve. He kept me on my feet the whole time. I didn't quite make enough when it mattered.

Q. Do you think that could have affected you in the fifth set?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I felt pretty zapped. I used a lot of energy to get that fourth. I came out in the fourth with the mentality to try and get the crowd involved. I did. It felt like a bit of a bluff because inside I was pretty cooked.

Q. Your hamstring in the fifth set, anything serious with that?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: No, it's fine. Just tweaked a little bit when I went up for the short ball. I think I flexed my leg. I'm feeling fine.

Q. Have you given yourself a moment to reflect on what you've achieved in three days?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, I mean, I just need -- it's been good. I still have doubles. Try to get through that as much as I can. I had a great first round, but I had a good run last year. So it's only a first-round win. Obviously it was a great experience for me. Having my chance again, a good chance to win the second round, but not taking it, I think it will be better for me in the future. I think I'll know what to do, as I said, in between. Hopefully I'll end up with a better result.

Q. Sam said he feels like he belongs at this tournament. What do you feel as far as your position in world rankings?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Definitely obviously I want to improve my ranking. I had a good chance in the second round here today. Didn't quite keep my foot on the pedal when I needed to in the second and third; found myself drifting a bit. I definitely feel like I belong and I can match with a lot of good players.

Q. In terms of 142, do you think where you might be towards the end? Do you have an aim in mind?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Obviously I just want to crack the top 100 as quick as I can. That's not my end goal, but then I'll go from there. Again, if my game's getting better, then I guess the results and ranking will come.

Q. Do you look at Kyrgios as an example? Last year he did identical to you at the same age. Do you look at what he did?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Sure, I'd love to make the quarterfinal of Wimbledon. Doesn't anyone? Doesn't always work like he does. Everyone's got their own path. Obviously he had a good win today, so it's good for him. Everybody's got their own thing. I definitely think I can match him and do all right.

Q. What's next?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I'm not sure. My coach knows the schedule. I'm going to America. Obviously doubles is next. I'll focus on that. Then probably chill out a little bit after this tournament, mentally refresh. Then Memphis, Delray tournaments.

Q. The plan is to stay at ATP level as much as possible now, not drop down to challengers?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: If I'm not getting enough matches or I find myself losing, which I hope isn't the case, I'll drop down to get a few matches. We'll mix it in until I get my ranking up there.

Q. What did you think of Sam's game tonight?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I knew what I was getting when I played him. Obviously he's going to serve really well. He served a lot of aces, but I think I did a good job of getting a lot of racquets on balls. But when I did, I didn't quite get enough on them so he just had an easy put-away. When I actually comitted to my return I had better chances to break him. Yeah, you need early points in games because if he gets a few cheap points or you give him a few cheap points in games, he plays confidently and then you're really in a hole.

Q. Sam said he thought it was more difficult playing against someone from Australia. Did you find the same sort of thing?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: A little bit. We know each other's games pretty well. The thing I found difficult was his serve. That was pretty much it, to be honest (laughter).

Q. His success at his age show you there's a long game to be played here, there's no rush?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah. But at the same time I want to do it as quick as I can. I'm not rushing myself. I'm trying to get up there as quick as I can. There's a lot of older players in the tour, a few younger ones coming up. I want to be one of the younger ones pushing through. I prefer not to make my mark when I'm 27 or 28, to be honest.
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