Thanasi Kokkinakis has confirmed that he and Nick Kyrgios will defend their Australian Open doubles crown. The 'Special Ks' won the crown last year in extraordinary scenes, securing their maiden grand slam doubles titles.
The Aussie stars captivated the tennis world with their scintillating run, which saw fans flock to watch their matches at Melbourne Park and create a raucous and sometimes controversial atmosphere. And they will do it all again in 2023 after Kokkinakis confirmed on Sunday night that the Special Ks are reuniting.
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"We'll be playing at Aussie (Australian Open) - doubles is a lot less taxing on the body, and mentally it's a bit easier as well," Kokkinakis told reporters in Adelaide. "Obviously singles is our priority but I think it would be rude not to go out there and have fun with it."
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis also won the doubles title at the Atlanta Open in August, beating compatriots John Peers and Jason Kubler in the final. Their stellar year saw them qualify for the ATP Finals, where they lost to Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in the group stage.
Meanwhile, Kokkinakis is set to play both editions of his home event at the Adelaide International, which started on Sunday. After the first tournament he will also defend his maiden ATP singles title in the second tournament next week (both are in Adelaide).
Kyrgios is also due to play in week two, however his participation is under a cloud after he pulled out of Australia's United Cup team with an ankle injury last week. Kokkinakis said he was unsure if his good mate would front in Adelaide, however he was confident Kyrgios would be fit to play doubles at the Australian Open.
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) January 1, 2023
Congratulation to both of you
— George Alarcon (@Georgyboi48) January 1, 2023
Thanasi Kokkinakis joins star-studded field in Adelaide
Kokkinakis won the Adelaide (week two) title last year after beating France's Arthur Rinderknech in an epic final. He was pushed to three sets in three of his victories leading up to that.
His maiden ATP title came after he also reached the semi-finals in the first Adelaide tournament and was beaten by eventual champion Gael Monfils. On Sunday, the Aussie star admitted the heavy workload took its toll once he arrived at Melbourne Park, but said he had no regrets.
"I felt like I had a marathon almost every match in that second week," the 26-year-old said. "It was pretty full on coming into Aussie, but I wouldn't change it any other way.
"It was a blessing and a curse - obviously it was my greatest week on tour and an incredible moment. Even though I lost and was pretty cooked for AO, I still wouldn't have changed it."
Kokkinakis got a wildcard into this week's Adelaide draw, which is stacked with talent. Novak Djokovic is playing in Adelaide in his first time back in Australia since he was deported last January ahead of the Australian Open. The 21-time grand slam champion will Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the opening round in Adelaide.
Fellow former World No.1 Daniil Medvedev, now ranked seventh, takes on Lorenzo Sonego of Italy. Canada's World No.6 Felix Auger-Aliassime is the second seed and will face a qualifier.
Kokkinakis will play American World No.34 Maxime Cressy, while Jordan Thompson is up against France's Quentin Halys and another Australian Chris O'Connell meets Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.
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