Thanasi Kokkinakis said he is ready for the challenge of facing “model” Andy Murray in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Home favorite Kokkinakis is ranked 159 but beat six top 20 players in his career including Roger Federer in Miami and Andrey Rublev last week.
He spent his first match against Fabio Fognini in consecutive sets – a match postponed on Tuesday due to extreme heat and storms.
When the game was stopped, Kokkinakis was five points away from winning but quickly finished the job on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old played against Murray in the Davis Cup in 2015 and won only six games in three sets, but believes he is in a better position than he is now.
“He definitely gave it to me that day, but now that I’m ready, I feel good,” Kokkinakis said.
“Obviously it’s going to be a tough game. I watched a bit of his game against Berrettini and he played really well. He’s in good form. I’ve been training with him a little bit lately. little.
“I’ll keep playing my game. He might have lost a bit [of pace], but his predictions are better than ever, and he can still play at the top with the best of them. I’ll be ready for the best version of Murray.”
Murray is a ‘model’ on the ATP Tour
The former England No 1 endured a grueling five-set draw against Berrettini at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, in a match that lasted nearly five hours.
He showed signs of his old self in a match against the tough Italian, a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, and Kokkinakis said Murray was someone he had “a lot of respect for”. .
“He is a role model for everyone in British tennis, but I also think about the Tour, what he is doing and achieving. I am very, very happy for him.”
“Andy is someone I have a lot of respect for. When I was on the Tour, he was always ready to offer some advice.
“We got along really well. I remember watching him when I was a kid and thinking this guy looked moody as hell, he looked miserable. Then when you got to know him, he He’s really a hunter and a good guy.”
‘I wish I had metal body parts’
Murray’s career in recent years has been severely disrupted by injuries, including hip surgery that many believe will force him to retire.
His opponent on January 19 has also struggled with injuries throughout his career, with his right shoulder being a major cause of trouble.
“Sometimes I wish I had metal body parts, they could hold up a little bit better,” Kokkinakis said sadly in response to Murray’s continued feats.
The 35-year-old moved on tiptoes after beating Berrettini, but the intense physical training he did during the mid-season break has paid off when he’s out on the court, and he hopes I hope to be in good shape.
“Obviously it’s not easy to recover from a four-hour and 45-minute game,” he said.
“But I’ve put myself in the best chance of being able to do that with my training and the things that I’ve been doing over the last few months. I don’t expect to feel perfect on Thursday, but hopefully. I will take part in.” A good location.”