Kokkinakis in good shape for Open tilt

Thanasi Kokkinakis feels he's playing better tennis heading into the Australian Open than he was last year when he was coming off his first ATP title.

The 26-year-old was unable to back up his Adelaide International crown last week, eliminated in the semi-finals.

But Kokkinakis is feeling upbeat about his first-round Open clash on Tuesday with Fabio Fognini, having downed the Italian world No.57 in their only two previous meetings.

"I'm definitely up and about - I think I've got a bit more in me this time than I did last year," Kokkinakis told reporters on Sunday.

"Although I won the tournament in Adelaide last year, I feel like I'm playing better tennis this time around.

"I'm really happy with my level going into it and I'm ready to give it my all on Tuesday."

Kokkinakis played well above his current ranking of 110 in Adelaide, upsetting world No.6 Andrey Rublev en route to the final four.

The elation of capturing his maiden tour title last year was swiftly replaced by his disappointment at a round one elimination at the Open, losing to German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets.

He admitted rolling straight from the Adelaide final win into a Monday opener at the major had taken its toll.

"I got a Tuesday start this year, which definitely helps - I probably needed one more (day) last year," the South Australian said.

"Now I've got a few days and I'm motivated so there's a silver lining.

"I still wouldn't have changed it for anything, winning that title last year in Adelaide, but this year I come in a little fresher, a couple more days up my sleeve to get used to it."

While he made an early singles exit last year, he teamed with Nick Kyrgios to storm through the doubles to an unlikely Open title.

Kokkinakis said he didn't expect a repeat of their crazy run.

"Last year was something we didn't expect," he said.

"We're going to go out there and give 100 per cent but if I was to say I'm expecting to back it up, I'd be lying."

After a few rough years with various injuries, Kokkinakis said his 2023 goals were to stay healthy and to move past his career-high ranking of 69, which he initially set in 2015 and matched again last year.

"Yeah, I don't know how I fell on the exact same number," he said.

"It's pretty unlucky - I'm going to try and beat that and try to break into the top 50.

"My goal is try and win another title this year. I just want to be healthy and keep playing and improve my game.

"If I do that, then I think the ranking will follow."