It has been some time, but Thanasi Kokkinakis is finally realising his potential as he collected the Adelaide International 2 trophy and champion’s spoils after defeating Arthur Rinderknecht 6-7(6) 7-6(5) 6-3 in the final.
You have seen me at my lowest lows and now, at my highest high. It’s been a serious journey. This is only the beginning Thanasi Kokkinakis
The local boy, Kokkinakis, has had his career blighted by some eight years of various injuries but delighted his home fans by overcoming the Frenchman in three tight and exciting sets in preparation for the Australian Open.
As both players were contesting their first ATP Tour final, the outcome was always going to be sweet for the winner.
“To my family, my coaches, friends, everyone here, what a ride it has been,” Kokkinakis said in his post-match interview as champion.
“You have seen me at my lowest lows and now, at my highest high. It’s been a serious journey. This is only the beginning.
“I’ll worry about next week, next week; but for now, I’m just so happy. Thank you so much.”
Kokkinakis also made a point of showing his gratitude to the vocal Adelaide crowd.
“I feel like you guys (the Adelaide crowd) should have half this trophy,” he continued.
“You were unbelievable. You got me through so many matches this week. I hear every comment, I love it so much.
“I wouldn’t want to win my first title anywhere else.”
Kokkinakis will face German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the first round of the Australian Open early next week and if successful, he will come face-to-face with Rafa Nadal, the sixth seed and 20-time grand slam winner.
In the final, both players were on form in the first two sets when it came to their serves, with little to separate them.
Neither of them offered up any break points as they maintained virtually a 90% service strike rate.
Having shared the opening two sets thanks to a tie-break apiece, it was Kokkinakis who finally made the crucial breakthrough in the decider, held his serve and then captured the Frenchman’s serve for a second time to clinch the match and title.