Kokkinakis, Tomic relishing Davis Cup challenge
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Bernard Tomic are looking forward to kicking off Australia's Davis Cup campaign.
Far from daunted, Thanasi Kokkinakis is relishing the chance to lead Australia into Davis Cup battle against Andy Murray on Friday night.
British hopes of reaching their first Davis Cup final in 37 years rest heavily on Murray, and Kokkinakis knows he has nothing to lose in the opening singles rubber at the Emirates Arena.
“It should be a great challenge for me, obviously,” Kokkinakis said after Thursday’s draw.
“He’s a great player and to play him on home ground here in Glasgow will be huge.”
Murray, the world No.3, and the 72nd-ranked Kokkinakis have never played before but often hit together.
“I’m not sure whether knowing him well helps or hinders. I think he knows my game and I know his, although I’ve seen a bit more of him than he has of me,” Kokkinakis said.
“I’ll be ready. I guess I know what to expect from him, so I’ll be out there playing my game and we’ll see how it goes.”
While Kokkinakis is the underdog against Murray, Bernard Tomic is the clear favourite to exact revenge on world No.300 Dan Evans in Friday’s second singles rubber.
Evans stunned Tomic at the US Open two years ago but, while wary, the Australian No.1 is hopeful of improving his impressive Davis Cup record to 15 wins and just two defeats.
“I’ve played the best tennis of my career in Davis Cup, so I’m very confident,” Tomic said.
“It’s not just the fact that we’re playing to get into the final of the Davis Cup, which would be huge, but it’s also an opportunity for me to get into the top 20 for the first time in my career.
“So this match is very important for the team and me individually.”
He’s not taking Evans lightly.
“He can be very, very tricky. He slices a lot from his backhand and that’s something I wasn’t doing well last time I played him; countering his slice,” Tomic said.
“So I need to play as best as I can and really focus on what I need to do.”
The world No.23 admitted playing second brought a different pressure to the table.
“I would have loved to have played first. Of course it’s a bit different now,” Tomic said.
“Thanasi needs to go out there against Andy believing he can win from the first point and give himself the best chance.
“Win or lose, we have to try and make him as tired as we can to try to get a match out of him later in the tie.
“Then I’m up afterwards. Second match is not easy waiting around.
“If anything happens to me and we’re down 2-0 Saturday heading into that doubles, there’s a lot of pressure.”
Sam Groth will team with Lleyton Hewitt in Saturday’s doubles against Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot, although the Australian camp suspects British captain Leon Smith may draft Andy Murray may in to partner his brother if the tie is locked at 1-all.