Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis won two qualifying matches to earn a place in the Miami Masters main draw and now he is hoping to have a positive campaign and gain some confidence and points.
Kokkinakis, who pushed Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the Australian Open, saw off Mario Vilella Martinez 7-5 6-1 in the Miami qualifying final round on Tuesdy.
“Yeah it’s a little bit different [to facing Tsitsipas at the Australian Open], but for me the goal is still the same,” Kokkinakis told the ATP website. “I haven’t played in so long, so any match is a good chance to get out there for me to show and prove that I belong to get my ranking back and rebuild some confidence.”
Kokkinakis wouldn’t mind a big check
At the Australian Open, Kokkinakis competed in a $6 Kmart t-shirts.
“It’s definitely tough, especially when you haven’t had the last two years earning money,” Kokkinakis said. “It’s even more so tricky maybe for myself and then my first year back on tour when everything is cut dramatically and it’s a bit more of a grind.
“I’m trying to look at it in a way where everything I do now is trying to set myself up for next year, get those matches. Hopefully next year things are back to normal, prize money is back and it’s a good chance to earn a living. I’ve been fortunate to have this opportunity to start playing again so I’m just trying to compete and stay healthy again.”
In 2018, Kokkinakis famously stunned former world No. 1 Roger Federer at the Miami Masters.
“There was one old guy here who works at the tournament and he has a strong European accent and he keeps yelling ‘Kokkinakis’,” he said. “He was trying to tell me a lot of the fans [when I played Federer] hated him because he was one of the few cheering for me.
“I appreciate him. It’s always good memories coming back to Miami. It’s a little bit of a different venue, obviously. It’s a bit different without the atmosphere and the crowd, but you’ve just got to make the most of it.”