'Stupidest rule': Thanasi Kokkinakis blows up at umpire at Miami Open

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here fuming at the umpire at the Miami Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was fuming that he couldn't get a ball kid to hold his umbrella. Image: Tennis TV

Thanasi Kokkinakis was left fuming about the "stupidest rule" as he made a triumphant return to the Miami Open on Thursday.

Back on the comeback trail after years of injury and illness setbacks, the 24-year-old took another positive step by winning his first match in an ATP 1000 tournament for three years.

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Kokkinakis overpowered Japanese teenager Shintaro Mochizuki 6-3 6-3 to move into the second round of the tournament which holds happy memories for him as the scene of his best-ever win over Roger Federer in 2018.

The qualifier, who is set to improve substantially on his current world ranking of No. 243, downed the Wimbledon junior champion in 84 minutes to set up a second-round clash against Hungarian No. 29 seed Marton Fucsovics.

However it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Aussie star, who had an argument with the chair umpire because the ball kids weren't allowed to hold an umbrella for him.

In 26C heat in Miami, Kokkiankis was fuming that his courtside seat wasn't in the shade.

In normal circumstances a ball kid would be allowed to hold an umbrella over Kokkinakis' head during changes of ends, but not during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kokkinakis even called the tournament supervisor out to discuss the situation.

“Kokkinakis is not getting any shade and I told him he has to hold his own umbrella, that’s what we were told and he said could we get a confirmation because it’s the stupidest rule and he’d like to hear it from you basically," the chair umpire told the supervisor.

The Aussie also took to Twitter to call out the hypocrisy of the measure after the match, saying he was allowed to have an umbrella during his qualifying matches.

"We literally touch the same tennis balls, they held it in my last 'qualies' match. All good tho," he tweeted.

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Kokkinakis continues impressive comeback

After his qualifying wins, it was another impressive step forward for the 24-year-old, who returned to the ATP Tour last month in Melbourne before pushing eventual semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the Australian Open.

"I haven't played in so long, so any match is a good chance to get out there for me to show and prove that I belong to get my ranking back and rebuild some confidence," Kokkinakis said after making the main draw.

His only real concern came in his opening service game when he had to fight back from 0-40 down to hold but the 17-year-old Mochizuki gifted a double fault to allow the Australian to take a 3-1 lead.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here in action against Shintaro Mochizuki at the Miami Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis in action against Shintaro Mochizuki at the Miami Open. Image: AAP

Both struggled to hold serve in the second set but the Japanese was broken four times to two as Kokkinakis wrapped up his win in 84 minutes.

"It was amazing to be there," said the beaten teen. "I was confident about the match, but he kept hitting big and he was a lot better than me."

Meanwhile, World No.60 Jordan Thompson booked his first-ever meeting with Canada's former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic after prevailing in a tough battle with Delbonis, who's ranked 20 places below him.

The Sydneysider had to save a set point in the tiebreak of the opening stanza but took control with a break midway through the second set to win a contest lasting nearly two and a quarter hours.

with AAP

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