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January 9, 2017

Thanasi Kokkinakis

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What happened in the doubles? At the risk of asking the obvious, you're coming here with that momentum and that kind of push. It must be nice?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, yeah, it's good. Obviously my first week back on tour after so long out with various injuries, and, yeah, I was going to try and give singles a crack last week, but I didn't quite feel better. Body-wise I didn't quite have the confidence. And then to team up with Thomo, I thought we had a really tough draw, as well.

On our way there, to get better every match, I know I played better as the tournament went on, every match, and to beat such good teams and take out our first title is pretty crazy, especially in Brisbane, such a good tournament. Yeah, it's a good feeling.

Q. Where is the body at? What feels strong and what doesn't yet? How is that all kind of coming together?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: My main issues that I had the past year are feeling real good. They have improved a lot, and I'm pretty confident in those.

But it's a lot different playing. Even a doubles match, I was playing practice sets all week, as intense as I thought practice could be for me. And it's just not quite -- it doesn't quite replicate the same intensity that you do in a match, even though it's doubles.

Got a couple of niggles around the body here and there. Nothing too serious. So I'm just gonna try and stay on top of it, and yeah, do what's best for my body.

Q. Do you have high expectations or not really?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: No. No, I don't have high expectations. I know what my level is capable of, but the biggest thing for me, and it's going to continue to be this same goal for the next years of my tennis, is just to stay as healthy as possible and do what's best for my body.

Q. Facing Jordan, your doubles partner last night, is interesting?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, obviously an interesting draw. I don't think we both would have wanted that, but whatever. It's tennis, you know. It happens.

You're all in the draw, and because we are not seeded we've obviously got the potential to draw each other, and we did. It's all right. It's another match.

Yeah, it's been a while for me to play a singles match, so whoever it is, just going to play like a normal match and enjoy it.

Q. What's the banter been like between you?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: There hasn't been too much. Hasn't been too much, to be honest, because we have enjoyed the doubles victory. Haven't really talked about it too much.

Obviously we are aware of it, but it is what it is. It's another event. You play so many of these in your careers, and you're not always going to play someone not from your country or not someone you're mates with. Yeah, these things happen.

Q. What must these 15 months have been like? Must have been rough days.

Q. Can you give us insight into how hard that was?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, it was brutal. The lowest I have been, for sure, in my career. I mean, I had some injuries and stress fractures when I was 15 and 17, and they took me out for a while, but nothing compared to what I went through this year.

I'm trying to look at it as a bit of a blessing, but I still remember how long it took and just how many setbacks I had. The hardest thing for me through the whole year was almost being ready and feeling like I'm not too far off but still being a ways to go. I felt like I was a constant yellow light for a year and a half, and then when things started to feel good, something else -- I guess that's the body trying to compensate for injuries.

But I'm more aware of my body now. I'm trying to -- maybe things in the past where I thought weren't massive injuries, maybe in the past I thought something initially was just a little niggle, thought it would go away, I'm taking a bit more care now.

I used to kind of have it out with people who were spending heaps in the treatment rooms and just abusing the physios, but unfortunately I think I'm going to have to be one of those guys now. I see why they do it.

Yeah, I have just got to take care of my body.

Q. In the months before it happened, the French, especially when you played Novak and there were stages of that match where you went toe to toe...

Q. Was that kind of stuff what kept you going through your rehab, if that makes sense, knowing that you can get to that kind of...
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I have had a lot of good wins in the past, and I'm not even obviously close to where I want to get to. But knowing that I can match with those guys -- that was a good match for me, that French Open. It was a break each set, and I felt like from the baseline I was there and thereabouts with him.

And then obviously a few things happened at Wimbledon, and then I felt like I was on another good track at US Open. I felt like -- I felt like I was very close to winning that match, two sets to on up against Gasquet, was probably going to be my biggest win, and then my body gave out on me as I cramped.

Just all these sorts of things I'm just trying to take care better care of and trying to put myself in the best possible position for that stuff not to happen. I'm trying to do what I can, and me not trying to rush everything back.

Q. How long do you think it will get for you to get to that level again?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I'm not sure. I know I have reached it in practice already. Last couple of weeks, I feel like I have been practicing good.

But again, practice and matches is so different with the intensity of everything, trying to sustain that level under a lot more pressure, obviously.

I don't know. I don't know, to be honest. But I know my level is there, so it's just about me staying healthy, feeling good, and then being able to produce it when it matters.

Q. What was the hardest stage? The whole rehab process, what was the hardest day for you?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: There were a couple. I will just take you through a couple main ones. Firstly, when my surgeon said I'd be probably almost ready to go by around Indian Wells time, and ended up being, like, triple that.

Then it was after I had done a long rehab program and not serving for about 12 weeks, and then feeling pretty confident with everything and then serving on that 12th week, and then it feeling horrendous, lost my marbles there.

And then when I was ready to go again, after Rio, I was training in Florida and tore my pec. And then I got back and -- these are probably the biggest four days that just set me back. I got back in Melbourne, I was, like, all right, I'm going to train here and probably get ready to play some weaker tournaments in America, just to get some matches up. And after I injured my upper body, I was doing a lot of running out of frustration, and then I got a scan and got osteitis pubis.

So that set me up for -- that was what I'm battling up until now. That's been pretty good lately. Just all those little setbacks. So those four days specifically are the ones that really pissed me off.

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