Thanasi Kokkinakis in grim admission about French Open hopes after epic first round battle

The French Open schedule could hurt the Aussie's chances of progressing.

Aussie tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis fears that his chances of a long run at the French Open have likely been compromised by his late-night grand slam marathon against close mate and fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin. Kokkinakis joined Alex De Minaur in the second round at Roland Garros after claiming a hard-fought 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 5-7 6-3 win in a near five-hour match.

The Adelaide warrior was left aching and exhausted after his triumph that concluded at 11.37pm on Tuesday and meant the self-confessed "horrendous" sleeper didn't manage to crawl into bed until almost 4am - some four hours later. Kokkinakis said the contest was emotionally and physically draining and believes it has affected his chances of reaching the third round for the third time in his career.

Pictured Thanasi Kokkinakis
Thanasi Kokkinakis fears a long run at the French Open may have been compromised by his latest late-night marathon win. Image: Getty

"It definitely hurts me for later rounds," Kokkinakis conceded. "It's probably going to throw me off for the next match, as far as I've had to dump being able to sleep at the right time because of a midnight finish and it takes another three, four hours to wind down.

"I'll come into Roland Garros and get some treatment, but I'm not sure if I'll step foot on the court on the eve of the match, just trying to get my body in the best spot. It's just tricky, but these are just things that you learn when you've been on tour a while, that you need to be adaptable."

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 28: Alexei Popyrin of Australia reacts against Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia in the Men's Singles first round match on Day Three of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Kokkinakis joined Alex De Minaur in the second round at Roland Garros after claiming a hard-fought 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 5-7 6-3 over Alexei Popyrin.

Just how badly the late-night epic has affected him is yet to be realised with the 28-year-old, scheduled as third on court in the day session on Thursday, where he will face another physical opponent in gritty Italian clay-courter Giulio Zeppieri. But the Aussie could get a reprieve with Wednesday's programme on the outside courts wiped out by wet weather.

That rain is set to continue on Thursday, which presents the real possibility that he may not actually play until Friday, with the forecast of near-constant rain over the next 48 hours. But whenever he does step on the court, Kokkinakis knows he is in for another tough match against Zeppieri, who went through three rounds of qualifying before knocking out French favourite, 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino, in the opening round.


"He's a good player," Kokkinakis, the world No.100 of an opponent who's 48 places lower in the ATP rankings. "I've watched him play a little bit and kind of wondered why he hasn't progressed ranking-wise but I think he's very good, and he proved it beating someone from France in their own tournament.

"He had good match here last year with Casper Ruud (going down in four sets) and he ended up making the final, so I'm expecting a battle."

Kokkinakis and Alex de Minaur are the only Aussies left standing in the second round at Roland Garros. Ajla Tomljanovic, Daria Saville and Jordan Thompson were a few of the plethora of Aussies to crash out of the grand slam in the opening round.