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May 28, 2015

Thanasi Kokkinakis


3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 8-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you pull up?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: My hip is pretty sore. Physically I felt pretty good the whole match though. Just trusted the work I did all through. Had a lot of matches so I felt like I had the miles under my legs. Yeah, my hip is pretty sore right now.

Q. Are you able to explain exactly what happened in terms of how the racquet hurt you?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't even know what really happened. I kind of guessed for a smash. I probably should have taken the point, to be honest, because he had a smash looking back at it. Yeah, then I went to kind of react to a smash and I think I tripped and fell and my racquet landed on the ground before me. My hip landed straight on the grip or my throat of the racquet or something. Yeah, it's pretty bruised right now, but that's all right.

Q. What do you do tomorrow to try and make sure it stays free?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Doubles. Yeah, I don't think that will help to stay free. I got doubles so I am looking forward to that. We got the Bryans. Yeah, got to see the doctor after this and see what he thinks I should do. Yeah, look forward to tomorrow.

Q. And the day after? Potentially could play a fairly big name.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Playing two legends, so pretty good times for me. Yeah, just can't wait to get out there. I am going to give it what I got, and hopefully I come out with the right result.

Q. Your sister is in media, Thanasi. Do you think she may be able to help us out in describing your celebration, your Australian celebration?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Jeez, I don't know. Yeah, look, it was an emotional celebration. I don't know. It was just what came to me. Second time I have come back from two sets to love, and it was kind of good doing it against Bernie because he has gotten me twice this year. Good to do it second round of a Grand Slam. Yeah, meant a lot to me, that match and how it happened, so yeah, I'm really happy.

Q. Obviously be on a show court if you do play Novak. He two sets to love up I think. What do you need to do to keep pace with him as best you can?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I need to play my game. Not a lot changes. Obviously he's barely lost this year so it's going to be a tough task for sure, but I'm not going to change my game plan. I am going to try and do what I do well, and hopefully it works against him. We'll see.

Q. What does this match say about the way you've improved this year? I mean, coming back from two sets down and 5-2, match points, how have you made this turnaround and what does to say about your progression?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, it's big. I have done it a couple times this career year. Had that big match with Gulbis, and then the five-setter in Davis Cup against Rosol. I've shown I can do it. I was going mental in the first two sets when I couldn't take a break point. I don't know what my conversion rate was, but it was driving me insane. I don't think both of us were playing great tennis the first two, three sets. But, yeah, eventually I kept hanging in there. I trusted my fitness, and, yeah, it paid off.

Q. I wanted to ask about the five-setter in Australian Open as well. So do you think when a match goes to five sets it's advantageous to you?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't know if it has an advantage to me, but I've shown that if it gets to five sets, it's anyone's match. I feel really good physically, and I trust my game in the big moments when I need it. Yeah, I was trying to tell myself when I was two sets to love down I had a lot of chances these first two sets. Just keep pushing. If I get a break point, my confidence will rise and I'll be ready.

Q. Did you just go by your instinct when you were 5-2 down? You approach the net, volleyed, and you had some brilliant points.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, I just did what my favorite things were. That's how I got broken as well. I went for my shot and I just missed. Felt like I was missing it by two inches every time. I missed three or four in a row and I got broken. That is what got me to that stage in the first place, so I've got to keep trusting it. If it let's me down, got to keep going with it.

Q. The younger generation of Australians seem to be fluent in many languages. Bernie is talking in Croatian. You being a Greek Australian, can you tell me something about your Greek-Australian roots? Do you speak Greek?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I do speak Greek. Not as fluently as my parents would like, but I'm not bad. I understand everything. I can string together most sentences, but some I struggle. I have to throw an English word in there. But, yeah, both my parents were born in Greece. My dad moved over to Australia when he was five and them went back on holiday, and that's when he met my mom, when she was like 23, and brought her over. I was born in Adelaide.

Q. I know you've obviously practiced with Roger before and with Andy here. Have you practiced with Novak at any stage or hit with him at all?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I think it was three years ago at Hopman Cup. I warmed him up. I hit with him a couple times. I was actually saying to Todd, my coach, haven't really hit with him in like three years, which is a bit strange. I've hit with most of the other guys. Yeah, I don't know why. It just hasn't happened I've hit with him. I said I'd be looking forward to hit with him, but now I guess I got a good chance.

Q. Looking at it from up close, what are the things that make him so strong?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Barely misses a ball, mentally tough, lightning quick on court. The list goes on. He just does everything so well and so professional. I guess that's why he's had such great success in his career so far. Yeah, everything he does is pretty top notch, and that's why he is world No. 1. But, yeah, as I said, I'm just going to do what I do well and hopefully execute on the day.

Q. Just going back to the match today, what did it feel like actually playing the match? It was tense; it was dramatic; it had pretty much everything. For yourself, what did it actually feel like playing it?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Every time I didn't take a break point it was like someone shot an arrow to me. I can't even explain how berserk I was going. At one point I said, Get me off the court. Luckily I didn't. Yeah, eventually someone can't keep saving that many. I hope. So a lot of the times he played really good points on them, and a lot of times I got a little bit passive and tight. But, yeah, I just kept trying to dig. As I said, I trusted my fitness. I felt like I was in a bit better physical shape than he is. Eventually if you keep applying pressure, cracks will appear. Eventually that's what happened.

Q. During the medical timeout issue, what was going on there? Seemed to be quite a bit of discussion going on.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, well, I landed on my hip, and I was hoping the guy was just -- I was going to see what he thought I should do. Every time I was stretching, my hip, especially on the serve, I felt like I hope couldn't really elevate as much as I want. I was just using all my arm. Yeah, I thought he was hanging around the court so I could just call him. I called him actually at 30-Love but the referee didn't hear. I knew I was probably going to lose that game, so I just called him. Then turns out he didn't hear me, so the game went, and he had already gone back to the locker room or wherever he comes from, so it took ages. I could understand Bernie's frustration, because I didn't think he went back there.

Q. Seems like it's easier for your generation to be on court and feel like you belong already to the top. Do you have an explanation for that? Is it coincidence?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't know if it's the generation. I think it's just the individual. If you feel like you can compete, then you can compete. You can't try and be scared of anybody on the tour. Maybe when you're younger then you look up to them, and you still look up to a few players now, but you got to get used to it. You're going to play them, as I'm playing in a couple days' time. Just got to be ready.

Q. My question is not exactly related to the game. It's about your friend Kyrgios. A few days back to Australian GQ Magazine, he said that he enjoyed sex before big matches. Do you have anything to say about that? Since he's your friend I'm asking.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Jeez, it came up on my Facebook. I found it pretty funny, to be honest. If you actually read the article, it never actually says that he enjoys sex before a match. I think they changed the headline in that. Yeah, I mean, I don't know. He can do what he wants really. I actually read the thing, and never it did he actually say, I enjoy sex before I play tennis. It's up to the individual really.
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