Ranked 93rd on this planet, Kokkinakis is technically not the defending champion till subsequent week’s Adelaide Worldwide Two.
That is high quality, 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 this planet, the opposite two seedlings – Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov – are former high 10 stars and are nonetheless within the high 20.
Dealing with American Maxime Cressy earlier than a possible confrontation with Sinner on the Adelaide opening, Kokkinakis hopes the “ridiculous” rivalry can be reckoned with no matter criticisms could come of his efficiency. “There’s strain on him as a result of everyone says ‘Defensive champion; Can he do it once more?’. I do not assume they understand how tough that is. “That is my greatest match ever,” he mentioned.
“I do not know what number of years I have been enjoying tennis, so it isn’t about ‘Yeah, I will defend him, don’t fret’. enjoying Djokovic [and he’s the] Among the finest ever or among the best ever.
“It is a loopy discipline however I all the time love the assist once I come right here.”
Former world number one Djokovic, who’s getting ready to play his first match 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 mentioned. “I imply, stats and stuff like that’s most likely going to be the very best ever to try this, at the very least within the quick time period.
“It is no shock that they’ve loopy followers. Serbs like it and stand behind it. Together with how profitable it has been in Australia as properly, it has large assist 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 slightly ignored. Felix had an enormous historical past final yr.
“Clearly it may be the Djokovic present, however there are a number of good gamers who can do greater than win this title.”
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