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January 25, 2022

Thanasi Kokkinakis

Nick Kyrgios

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-5, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Another classic atmosphere out there. How do you see your next-round semifinal against Granollers and Zeballos?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, I don't know, do we have a day off?

THE MODERATOR: I believe so, yeah.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: So we'll enjoy that. Nick will be in here early training, he's a new man.

No, it's tough. These guys are really good. Everyone we play now, everyone we have played since we started really good opponents. We're stoked with this win. We came big in the big points. And, yeah, obviously the guys are experienced veterans but we're going to keep playing how we play, enjoy it, and have fun, and use the crowd.


Q. What do you do in terms of getting intel on these players you play? Are you finding out from other players or are you just hitting the court and seeing how it goes?

NICK KYRGIOS: To be brutally honest, I just don't even worry. I didn't even know who we played yesterday -- I mean, two days ago I didn't even know but when I walked out there. I just know if we play our game and we can use the crowd, use the energy, serve well, worry about us, don't worry about the external, just control what we can control, and we'll be fine.

Today we knew there was going to be some ups and downs. That's a bloody good doubles pair we played today. They obviously had a great year last year. You could tell they were tough. They didn't really drop their level at all.

We played a good return game in the third. But we just concentrate on what we need to do. We know what we do well, and it's world class, so that's what we'll do again.

Q. You have played in front of some pretty wild crowds. That seemed like a different level of wild today. Is that probably as wild as you've played in front of? Semis, final, do you hope you stay there for both if you do get through that semi?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I think this Australian Open I think with everything the people have gone through, they just are just so happy to see Aussies have success. Demon in the fourth round, us kind of carrying the flag in doubles a little bit.

This Oz Open, honestly, I think for us it's more about the people, playing for them is more important than our doubles success. We haven't drawn up any goals of what we want to achieve this year in doubles. I just want to play and give the people of Australia and the Australian Open a show and genuinely try and grow the sport of tennis. That's why I'm playing. I know Thanasi is just enjoying it. This is the most fun we've ever had on the court.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: The thrill for us is honestly walking out there. This sounds stupid, but we worry about what happens in the match after. But it's just seeing the support we've gotten and the crowd go nuts every time we get out there and how much they're enjoying it, that kind of gets us going and gets us motivated to do better for them, honestly.

Q. Can you talk us through the hand signals? They got quite a lot of attention on the broadcast...

NICK KYRGIOS: Are you talking about when I grabbed his ass?

Q. No, when Thanasi is serving.

NICK KYRGIOS: This is cross. This is what we do. This is cross, this is stay, and this is fake.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Is that us? That's just normal.

NICK KYRGIOS: That's us. That's just normal but we do it better.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I honestly learned signals this tournament.

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, we don't usually signal.

Q. You said the other day TV ratings are up 45%. I think today you started not on any channel and quickly you bumped off the Nadal game on 9. What do you make of that? You weren't there at the start and then by 3-All you were front and center.

NICK KYRGIOS: Nadal is hell of a player. That's unexpected, I wouldn't expect that. Shapo, Shapovalov and Nadal are two probably of the best players in the world right now. He's one of the most exciting younger guys as well. But, I mean, I think the level of entertainment I think is different I think.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's kind of easier in doubles you can feed off each other a bit. Singles is a lot more serious. Nick makes it the other way, which is unbelievable and tough to do especially when you're playing in a real competitive environment.

But I think having us to feed off each other, we can just talk rubbish in between points, look at our box, we have a comedian in the box so we talk rubbish to him as well. Yeah, we just have fun out there.

Q. The way you have started singles and doubles so far this year, is this the most confidence you've had in your game for a long time?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah. And I think it's all started with my body, to be honest. When that's been in motion then I've been able to actually give myself a chance to play. I couldn't have ask for a better summer. I know the singles here didn't quite go how I wanted, it was a quick turnaround, I wasn't able to find it.

But yeah, I'm not complaining with the start I've had to the year. Super stoked to do it in Adelaide and to play here with Nick, one of my best mates, in that atmosphere and this crowd. Hopefully I can use this to springboard my year. Yeah, super happy with how I've started.

Q. So many sports like cricket, other sports are trying to find quirky, faster formats to get young people to watch. When I see the crowd coming out of your match, it's all young people and they've had the time of their life. Do you think sport has always had what it needed, personalities, and we just needed to see that?

NICK KYRGIOS: Definitely. I mean, we're not trying -- there is no way around it. Me and Thanasi are definitely role models to the youth in Australia. We obviously attract that crowd.

I know that over the years I haven't been the best role model, but I was just learning how to deal with everything. I think now at 26 I have matured, and I've definitely realized that a lot of young kids and people, even people that are low on confidence, they do look towards us when we go out there. We are not special people. We're normal humans that you might see walking in Australia, and we are now in the semifinals of a Grand Slam.

I feel like I think we are just relatable. I think that's what's the best thing about it. They go out and get behind their mates. Most of the guys in the crowd are our mates. We've got our team members that have been through injuries.

In Thanasi's case and me, have been around in some dark times. I guess tennis has always had personalities, and they have just really struggled to understand that there are different ways to go about it. You've got Roger Federer and these guys that are just once-in-a-generation athletes. I can't be like that. We're not like that. I feel it has to be people that are, I guess a little bit more relatable.

Q. If I could just ask on Peng Shuai, how the Australian Open asked some activists to remove shirts that said, "Where is Peng?" And, Nick, you said last week that we can't forget about that. What's your reaction to that? Should they be allowed to wear the shirts? They are raising money to wear them on Saturday.

NICK KYRGIOS: Honestly, I've got so much going on right now, and obviously I'm being more professional than I have ever been for this doubles than I think I have ever done in my life. I'm putting all my focus in this. I'm trying to just enjoy every moment.

I didn't even know that was the case at the moment, so I think that's a question for someone I think not playing in the semifinals of a Grand Slam. But, I mean, I don't want to comment too much on it. Obviously like there is a lot of noise around the Australian Open already from what's happened in the last couple of weeks, so I think I want to stay clear of any controversy.

Q. The entertainment that you all have been providing these last few days, and it's not as if...

NICK KYRGIOS: Years, Craig, years.

Q. Okay, years. I will take that point, Nick. But do you think we're going to see more of the two of your teaming up this year?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's up to Nick. He's in high demand. I'm just trying to get him where I can. Hopefully we can. I mean, we have a lot of fun. Depends what schedule he's playing.

Hopefully, now that my ranking is going to be better, we can play a lot of the same tournaments. Yeah, I'd love to be on court with him. I don't think -- it's going to be tough to match this atmosphere here around the world, but no, as I said, we're not doubles specialists. We don't, like, think let's do all these great things in doubles. We just want to have fun play and play together, and hopefully the results will come after that.

Q. Nicolas?

NICK KYRGIOS: Craig? (Laughter.)

I don't know. Obviously whenever I can play. With Thanners, I'd love to. I mean, you all know that I don't really play a really tight schedule.

I'm not sure. Maybe Wimby. Wimbledon is best-of-five sets. I reckon we'd maybe play US Open. That's the other Grand Slam I can see but I don't really know.

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