MELBOURNE, November 19, 2017 (AO Press Release)
South Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis has been awarded a wildcard into Australian Open 2018.
The 21-year-old from Adelaide is looking to start 2018 fresh and ready for a big year on the ATP Tour, after working hard to recover from various injuries that have kept him from completing a full season for the past couple of years.
Kokkinakis said he was incredibly grateful and excited after he got the call from Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, telling him he will be playing at next year’s Australian Open.
“It’s been tough missing the last two Australian Opens especially because it’s my favourite tournament and I was 17 when I played my first one,” Kokkinakis said.
“It’s been a pretty tough couple of years with my body, but I’ve been working hard to get it right. I’m really grateful to Tennis Australia for the Aussie Open wildcard and can’t wait to get back out there and compete in front of my friends and family.”
Kokkinakis, currently ranked world No.210, reached the second round of the Australian Open in both 2014 and 2015 and has fond memories of his first win at Grand Slam level, defeating Igor Sijsling (NED) in front of a packed home crowd and celebrating with two victory laps of Show Court 3.
Tennis Australia’s Performance Director Wally Masur said he hopes this opportunity will be a spring board to a successful 2018 for Kokkinakis.
“Thanasi is such a great young player with so much potential, and after a tough couple of years with injury, and after working hard to come back, we think this will be the perfect launching pad for 2018 that he deserves,” Masur said.
Tim Smyczek from the United States clinched the reciprocal USTA wildcard this week, finishing the series of USTA play off events at the top of the table.
The Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff will commence on 28 November in Zuhai, China.