Thanasi Kokkinakis has reportedly fallen out with Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt.
According to tennis pundit Brett Phillips, Kokkiankis and Hewitt are not on good terms after a controversial selection decision in Australia’s 2017 Davis Cup semi-final.
Hewitt, captain of the Aussie side, opted to play John Millman in a crucial reverse singles rubber against Belgium, overlooking Kokkinakis despite the youngster’s higher ranking.
“It’s a bit of a delicate subject, the whole Thanasi Kokkinakis situation, because basically he’s had a falling out with Lleyton Hewitt,” Phillips said on SEN Radio on Thursday.
“If you fall out with Lleyton Hewitt, you’re on the back foot.
“I know there’s been some meetings in Sydney about it this week to try and rectify the situation — they’re at loggerheads at the moment.
“It goes back to the Davis Cup, we’re going back not last year but the year before when he was part of the team that lost that semi-final and you might remember that John Millman got the nod late.
“Millman’s practice form had been a lot better, he got the nod ahead of Kokkinakis, despite Kokkinakis having a better ranking, and he basically sulked from there.
“He wouldn’t actually come out and support the team, he was invited last year to be part of the squad as well and refused to travel with the Davis Cup squad … it’s a bit of a mess.”
The South Australian was seemingly bound for superstardom four years ago when he burst onto the scene, showing his promise again last year by defeating Roger Federer in Miami.
But shoulder and groin issues, among other complaints, have dropped him down the pecking order to sit as the eighth-ranked Australian man.
He’s fallen behind teenager and new Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur, recovering talents Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, as well as Millman and Matthew Ebden, who are riding career-best form.
With niggling injuries pushing his world ranking outside the top 100, he has been made to earn his meal ticket by qualifying for the upcoming Australian Open.
On Thursday, Kokkinakis took another step towards bettering his career-best ranking of 69 by defeating Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 38 minutes.
The next step is beating experienced Canadian Peter Polansky to reach the main draw.