Thanasi Kokkinakis works on his comeback at Tipsarevic Academy


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Thanasi Kokkinakis works on his comeback at Tipsarevic Academy

Thanasi Kokkinakis has been one of the most promising players of the new generation, entering the top-100 at the age of 19 and earning 13 ATP wins in 2015. Instead of staying on the winning road in 2016, the Adelaide native had to undergo right shoulder surgery at the end of the season, playing only one match that year and missing all the action until May 2017, struggling with an abdominal strain.

After a slow return that spring, Thanasi advanced into the first ATP final in Los Cabos in August, losing in three sets to Sam Querrey and looking confident to seek more good results in the following months. Instead of that, more troubles waited just around the corner, forcing Thanasi to skip all the action after the US Open, kicking off 2018 from outside the top-200.

Motivated to leave injuries and a terrible period behind him, Kokkinakis made a promising start of the year, beating Roger Federer in Miami to become the lowest-ranked player who toppled the world no. 1 in 15 years. There was no time to enjoy the massive win, though, injuring a knee in the opening set of Monte Carlo Masters against Karen Khachanov just a few weeks later when he caught an advertising padding, missing all the events until Roland Garros.

By the end of the season, Thanasi conquered Aptos and Las Vegas Challengers to gain some points and confidence, preparing for the start of 2019 in Melbourne before heading to Brisbane where he passed two qualifying round to reach the main draw.

There, he lost a close match to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, going back to Melbourne where he played well in the qualifying round of the Australian Open (he missed the wild card once again and wasn't happy at all with that decision) to reach the main draw, facing Taro Daniel in the opening match.

After winning the opening set, Thanasi was forced to quit the encounter with the shoulder injury that has been bothering him for years now, staying away from the court for three months. Making a return in Barletta Challenger, Thanasi celebrated the 22nd birthday and the first main draw triumph since October, ousting the 17-year-old Italian Giulio Zeppieri 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 56 minutes for a much-needed win got him back to the winning way.

Nonetheless, that was the last match that the young Aussie had played so far, withdrawing before the third round clash against Gianluca Mager and skipping all tournaments in the previous month. In the last couple of days, Thanasi has been in Serbia, working at Janko Tipsarevic Academy in Belgrade and preparing for a comeback that could happen at Roland Garros where he has to pass qualifying round to reach the main draw.