PERTH — After finally putting his injury woes behind him Thanasi Kokkinakis believes he’s back on track to relaunch his career following a strong showing at the Hopman Cup this week.
The 21-year-old, who climbed to 69 in the world rankings in 2015, fought back from a set down to beat German world No. 4 Alexander Zverev in three sets on Friday night.
Clean hitting and big serves were signs that the comeback of the No. 209 is well on track.
And the South Australian is happy to be back, having spent the first half half of last year sidelined with a shoulder injury and not playing just once in 2016 due to groin and pectoral problems.
“I knew a performance like this wasn’t far away,” Kokkinakis said.
“I have played like that in certain patches in practise. For the crowd to see that and for people at home to see that; that was big for me.”
He’s in a hurry to see his ranking rise, but concedes he probably won’t reach his peak fitness until midyear.
But being sidelined and watching Zverev, 20, rocket in to the top 10 has made him hungry for success.
“It is what it is,” Kokkinakis said.
“He has been able to stay healthy and he’s had a great year. And he’s up there for a reason..
“But I know what I am capable of and hopefully more people do now after seeing that.
“I know I can play better than I did today.”
Kokkinakis’ Hopman Cup partner, Daria Gavrilova, has her sights on reaching the top 20 this year.
Currently ranked 25, she will complete her Open preparation in Sydney.
“Top 20 is my goal. I am not far away from it now,” she said. “I feel I belong inside top 20.
“Once I get top 20, I can dream about top 10.”