In an interview as quoted by ATP Thanasi Kokkinakis recalled his first match against Rafael Nadal at the 2014 Australian Open. The Spaniard prevailed in straight sets but the Australian feels he performed great. “I remember it was super hot that day, so we ended up closing the roof.
I don’t know how hot it was, but that year, 2014, Australia was like 45 degrees Celsius or whatever, so it was crazy heat. They shut the roof. But he just beat me with physicality is what it felt like. I found his serve really tough, which sounds stupid because you wouldn’t think that’s the best part of his game.
But I found that really awkward, because if you didn’t do enough with the ball obviously he was controlling”. On his improvements, Kokkinakis added: “I think mentally I’m a lot better than I was. I just feel in a happier place even though I haven’t played,” Kokkinakis said.
“2016 was a really tough year for me. I was as low as I think I or anyone could get. I was struggling a lot mentally that year. But after working my way through that year, everything else feels a bit easier with me. Wins and losses aren’t the be-all and end-all, even though they mean a lot”. Kokkinakis was supposed to face Nadal on Thursday at the Australian Open but he withdrew due to an injury.