Ranked 93rd on the planet, Kokkinakis is technically not the defending champion till subsequent week’s Adelaide Worldwide Two.
That is effective, too, contemplating nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic headlined a ridiculously sturdy pitch this week that includes Felix Auger Aliassime, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner.
All of them are among the many high 15 male gamers on the planet, the opposite two seedlings – Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov – are former high 10 stars and are nonetheless within the high 20.
Going through American Maxime Cressy earlier than a possible confrontation with Sinner on the Adelaide opening, Kokkinakis hopes the “ridiculous” rivalry will likely be reckoned with no matter criticisms might come of his efficiency. “There’s strain on him as a result of all people says ‘Defensive champion; Can he do it once more?’. I do not assume they understand how tough that is. “That is my greatest event ever,” he stated.
“I do not know what number of years I have been taking part in tennis, so it isn’t about ‘Yeah, I will defend him, don’t fret’. taking part in Djokovic [and he’s the] Probably the greatest ever or the most effective ever.
“It is a loopy area however I at all times love the help after I come right here.”
Former world number one Djokovic, who’s getting ready to play his first event in Australia because the drama of exile final yr, is probably the one participant to obtain extra consideration than Kokkinakis.
“And for good cause,” Kokkinakis stated. “I imply, stats and stuff like that’s in all probability going to be the very best ever to try this, not less than within the quick time period.
“It is no shock that they’ve loopy followers. Serbs adore it and stand behind it. Together with how profitable it has been in Australia as effectively, it has enormous help under. [the] It is the Australian Open, however in every single place you look, there is a high 10 man and a high 10 man.
“It is like Medvedev is ignored, or Holger, who simply received the Paris Masters, is a little bit ignored. Felix had an enormous historical past final yr.
“Clearly it will be the Djokovic present, however there are loads of good gamers who can do greater than win this title.”
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