Philippoussis serves as Kokkinakis mentor
Thanasi Kokkinakis is grateful for help from former top-10 Australian player Mark Philippoussis.
Thanasi Kokkinakis has spent this year rebuilding his fitness and form following a severe bout of glandular fever.
The 24-year-old has been training in Melbourne for the past few months and hitting regularly with two-time Australian Davis Cup champion Mark Philippoussis.
“Mark’s been great for me. He is a super nice guy,” Kokkinakis said.
“I couldn’t get my coaches over from Adelaide just yet. Obviously with the year kind of in limbo, I didn’t want to get them over when I wasn’t sure what I was doing tournament wise.
“But Mark is in Melbourne and ever since I was younger, he has always been willing to help and never asks for anything in return. He’s just a super good guy and I really appreciate him.”
Kokkinakis described Philippoussis, who is a former world No.8 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, as a great support.
“It is not even about the tennis, it’s just good to have a relationship with him,” Kokkinakis said.
“Mark always has my best interests in mind. Anything I can get from him tennis wise is a bonus, he obviously has a lot of experience.
“He’s been through a lot of injuries himself and I think we have similar personalities, so he gets me and knows what makes me tick. He is just a really good guy to have around.”
Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has also been helping Kokkinakis in his comeback.
“I’ve hit with Lleyton a little bit as well,” Kokkinakis said. “He’s always been good to practise with.”
The former world No.69-ranked Kokkinakis has shown promising form at the UTR Pro Tennis Series in Melbourne, claiming back-to-back titles in the past fortnight without dropping a set.
For Kokkinakis, who is currently ranked No.257, the way he physically handled the eight matches was the most pleasing result.
“I’m not too worried about my confidence, I just want my body to feel fine because I know the rest will follow,” he said.
“I think I’ve proven every year that I have played, I’ve done well. I just haven’t played enough to give myself a chance to move up in the rankings.
“That’s the biggest thing for me, just to keep playing matches and stay healthy.”