'Dark place': Thanasi Kokkinakis opens up on battle with depression

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Thanasi Kokkiankis has bravely opened up about his battle with depression during a horror five-year stretch that threatened his tennis career.

Talking on the 'Ordineroli Speaking' podcast on Wednesday, Kokkinakis revealed the depressing depths of despair he endured during his horror run with injury and illness.

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Kokkinakis considered retirement many times as he battled debilitating shoulder, groin, pectoral, back, knee and elbow problems.

He then suffered the cruellest blow when a bout of glandular fever ruled him out of the 2020 Australian Open.

But the 24-year-old now admits he also suffered badly from depression while contemplating life without tennis.

"Depression was a real thing. I'd walk into cafes and get really bad anxiety and I was, like, 'I've gotta get out of here'," Kokkinakis said.

"I'd just get really nervous, I could feel my heart racing. Real strange stuff, stuff that I'd never had growing up.

"No positive thoughts ever came in and if they did for a second it would switch back off really quick."

How Thanasi Kokkinakis came out the other side

Kokkinakis made an emotional return to his home grand slam in Melbourne last month, winning his first match at the Australian Open in six years.

He then pushed World No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets before losing a thriller.

"I don't want to sound all doom and gloom here 'cause I'm good now," said the one-time Davis Cup hero.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here in action at the Australian Open doubles.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in action at the Australian Open doubles. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

"But, yeah, it was pretty grim for a while.

"It was strange. You can't see any positives or you can't see any good things at the end of the tunnel.

"So I think only people that have gone through that can kind of understand that.

"Even if there's good things right in front of you, you can't see that 'cause you're so locked and consumed into your own thoughts.

"It's a real dark place and I don't want anyone to go through it because as bad as the physical pain is the mental pain is way, way worse."

Kokkinakis received an outpouring of support from fans on social media.

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with AAP

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