22 May 2015 | tennis.com.au

Your serve of the week’s biggest news stories.

Thanasi Kokkinakis in action during his fourth-round loss to compatriot Bernard Tomic at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California; Getty Images
Having just cracked the world’s top 100, it would be fair to say Thanasi Kokkinakis was living the dream. But, as the Adelaide Advertiser found out this week, the life of a rising tennis star’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. Kokkinakis’s travel plans were derailed this month by a fire at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, which forced his withdrawal from the Rome Masters.

As reported in the Advertiser: “Delayed flights and endless hours waiting around at airports, Kokkinakis has learned, are all part of the life on the ATP tour. Jet lag, sore legs and brutal training sessions are also part of the deal, Kokkinakis can attest after a brutal eight months of touring which finally saw him break into the world’s top 100 this week. “It is a grind,” he says. “But it is the life I chose.””

But it wasn’t all bad news for Kokkinakis; instead, he travelled to Bordeaux and scooped his first ATP Challenger title. “It feels great to win my first title, especially after the circumstances with Rome,” he told The Australian. “It’s great to get the win in Bordeaux because it is such a nice Challenger.”

Daria Gavrilova in action during her third-round win over Japan's Kurumi Nara at the Miami Open; Getty Images
Another star on the rise is Daria Gavrilova, who hit the headlines in the Weekend Australian following her stunning week in Rome: “Moscow-born Gavrilova, who is coached by Nicole Pratt, has shown high skill, tenacity, endurance and poise in what has been a career-best week in the Italian Open.”

Kokkinakis and Gavrilova were among the big names touted by Aussie tennis legend Todd Woodbridge to succeed in Paris: “Todd Woodbridge has tipped Sam Stosur, Daria Gavrilova, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis as the Australians most likely to perform strongly at this year’s French Open, starting on Sunday. With decent draws, Woodbridge said the quartet could have an impact on the season’s second major,” reported the Herald Sun.

Kyrgios in action at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open; Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios continues to make waves, and Woodbridge was this week talking up the ACT star’s chances in London next month. “Doubles great Todd Woodbridge has tipped Canberra’s Nick Kyrgios to do some damage at next week’s French Open, but he’s far more excited by the 20-year-old’s prospects at Wimbledon and believes he can be a future champion at the All England Club,” reported the Canberra Times.

Casey Hoole at the Queensland Tennis Centre at the announcement of his participation at the Longines Future Tennis Aces event; Longines
But it’s not just the big guns getting ready for Paris. Brisbane young gun Casey Hoole will also travel to the French capital this month to represent Australia in the three-day Longines Future Aces event – and the Sunday Mail is tipping a big future for the junior ace. “I’m really excited, it’s a great honour and will be a very good experience,” Hoole told the Mail.

ball, tennis court
Aussie great John Fitzgerald returned to the court this week, attending the opening of a new high performance tennis facility at Tweed Heads in New South Wales. “I’m delighted to see facilities like this one evolving and springing up around the country, they are the heart and soul of what supports our sport,” Fitzgerald told the Tweed Valley Weekly.

And Davis Cup preparations are heating up in Darwin, with the countdown now on to the July quarterfinal clash between Australia and Kazakhstan. Junior tennis fans in the NT capital are looking ahead to the tie, including 11-year-old Julia van den Berg: “I’ve only just arrived in Darwin from England and have been playing tennis since I was six,’’ she told the NT News. “I love tennis. We’re all very excited about the Davis Cup and the chance to watch players like Lleyton and Nick in action.”