February 13, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I'll just get both your thoughts on the match and how much fun you guys had playing with each other.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, look, it was a good match for us. I don't know if we've won a match on tour together, but yeah, we talked about this a while ago. We just wanted to play. Hopefully it was in front of some fans, but it wasn't today, but that's all right. Yeah, any time we can pair up, we just -- it's more about just having fun and enjoying each other's company. It's not often we get to do it, so any time we get the chance, we jump on it.
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, we know how to play doubles together. We had some success in juniors, and it's just basically been about having the chance to play. Obviously it's nice he's getting his body right and things linking up. We were very excited to play in front of fans though on Show Court 3 on a Saturday when everyone is getting pissed, so that would have been awesome to go out there and just give them something to kind of go out with a bang. But it's good that we got a win today. I think it was good just to get our bodies moving as well, especially me after last night. Yeah, hopefully anything is possible if we get a bit of momentum we'll see what happens.
Q. A lot of communication between the two of you. What percentage was tactical and what percentage was social?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Tactical, maybe one percent. Social --
NICK KYRGIOS: I don't know, there was actually a bit of talking today, tactical-wise.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: All right, maybe a little bit, but it was definitely more just rubbish.
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm a taken man, so he was talking to me about girls most of the time.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: He's throwing me under a bus. But that's not true, we were just having fun.
Q. What was the contrast from last night's crowd to the atmosphere out there today?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it was tough. Obviously hearing the news yesterday when I heard the press conference there was not going to be any crowds moving forward I knew it was going to affect our doubles match. But ultimately it is what it is and we've got to just abide by the rules and hopefully we can just finally get over this pandemic in Australia.
The world is a bit far behind, but hopefully by next year we can actually not worry about anything, everyone can just have freedom to go outside, watch matches, watch some of the best Aussies play, but for now we can't do that.
Q. Was that difficult for you not having any crowds?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I've played in Futures, so yeah, I've played in front of no crowd. But yeah, that was -- easy to concentrate in doubles. He's usually the one out of the two of us to keep me on the straight and narrow out there, try to keep me focused. I feel like I've matured a little bit since the last time we've played men's doubles but I'm just glad we got through. It's good to get our first win together on tour, as well.
Q. It's been eight years since that boys' final. Do you have a chance to think back how far you've come since that time?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it's pretty crazy. I always felt like -- I mean, you saw what he could produce the other day against Stef. His level is always going to be there. He's always going to belong. He's always going to be able to rise to the occasion. To go out there after everything he's been there, on Rod Laver Arena, with the expectation, to bring it to one of the best players in the world is not easy. And he was right there, created chances, could have won the match, as well.
You know, I mean, we've roomed together in London, we've roomed together all over the world and I've seen all the work he's put in. So to see the success he's had and the enjoyment, it's awesome. But at the same time I'm obviously a bit sad from time to time because I know that if he was healthy the whole time we would have been everywhere doing everything around the world. Probably he would have been -- I'm not sure what his ranking was when he got injured but he was on the up and he would have probably overtaken me at some stage because my work ethic is pretty bad.
But it's just good to see him back. Hopefully he can just string a couple more of those matches together and get some confidence.
Q. What have you made of Nick's journey?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, no, obviously growing up I knew Nick was going to be a hell of a player. Obviously came through and did really well in the juniors, and yeah, he took off. We kind of were taking off a little bit at the same time together and obviously I had a couple injuries and Nick kept soaring and watching him from afar was pretty special, watching him have all those great matches and entertain the crowd like he does. People kind of saw on the stage his demeanor on court and the energy he brings and the fans he interacts, but I've seen that when he was playing under 12s in Gosford and Madura. He's just like that, even in front of five people he was doing that stuff. It's not a show it's just how he is.
Yeah, it's just good to be back at this level playing, ideally, in front of a crowd, but it's just good to kind of prove again to people what I can do and hopefully I can keep progressing, keep being on the up.
Q. With that in mind, what's your pathway now to try to get that ranking up obviously to where you really want it to be?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Ideally just play a lot of matches and stay healthy. Staying healthy will let me play matches and I think my tennis will do the job. I've just got to keep giving myself an opportunity to play and compete and hopefully the path is going to be pretty quick.
Q. Any schedule at the moment that you're looking at?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Not too sure yet. I want to be careful because obviously don't want to keep coming bak to Australia and doing the two weeks' quarantine. So I got to be smart with it, but I'll sit down with my coaches and agents after this tournament and decide what's next.
But yeah, I've got to be ready for a long year of traveling. It's going to be a bit weird. Hopefully we do get some crowds back in stadiums. It's going to make it better for everyone and it's going to add to the atmosphere and energy of the players and I think it's going to make for better tennis, as well. We'll see, but yeah, I'll probably decide in the next few days.
Q. Has anything changed since the Tsitsipas match until now? Any development for you --
NICK KYRGIOS: His direct messages.
Q. If you want to explain about the direct message -- yeah, anything developed for you?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Maybe obviously a little bit more publicity and a few more heads, turning a few more eyes. But for me, the goal is still the same. It's just literally staying healthy and being able to produce that tennis for as long as possible. Hopefully it gives a few more tournament directors and stuff like that, hopefully it gives me a few more opportunities where I don't have to grind through quallies of Challengers or whatever it be. So hopefully they can kind of see what I bring to the sport and hopefully want me in their tournaments. But for my I know the path is going to be a long one. I've got a lot of work to do, but I'm ready to put it in. I've had a lot of time on the sidelines, so keen to get going and get back to where I should be.
Q. Will you go shopping at K-mart?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I have enough shirts. They haven't shrunk too far yet. They might turn into a crop top after a couple more washes, but for now they're all right.
Q. Nick, what do you think it would have been like for you playing singles matches at a Grand Slam, at this Grand Slam, especially with no crowd? You didn't play the US Open, so you didn't really have that experience before, but you're just somebody who draws so much off the crowd and that seems to be a huge part of your time out there. Would you have been able to function as the same sort of player with a completely empty stadium?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, I feel like -- well, I played Coric a week and a half ago and that was very tough to rally. I was down a break and it was tough to find -- for me personally it was tough to have a chat with myself and look around and see no one watching and just trying to produce big tennis against a pretty good player. It wasn't easy.
He definitely felt more comfortable, I felt, with no crowd. He was just going about his business, kind of just putting his head down and putting me away, but it was tough.
It would have been tough for me, I think, playing with no crowd, especially next match. Even though it was a fourth round quarterfinals, I think -- for me personally I think sports is entertainment at the end of the day, and I want to be able to play in front of full crowds around the world. That's what I'm used to, and that's -- I was a bit -- talking to Thanasi when I was out on the doubles court, I was like, I don't know if I'm able to do a full schedule with doing this stuff. Obviously the quarantine in itself, but just like going out on court and playing with no crowd, I don't know if that's the way I want to do it, me personally, and that's fine. That's not a shot on anybody who does want to go play and go get points and make money. That's fine, but for me I'm not sure that's the option I'm going to go down.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports