London, Great Britain, 30 June 2022 | Darren Parkin

Thanasi Kokkinakis’ return to Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 has come to an end at the hands of six-time champion Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic was always going to be a huge challenge for the world No.79, who was coming off his first-ever main draw victory at SW19.

The top-seeded Serbian, who is enjoying a 23-match winning streak at the tournament, took a dominant opening set 6-1 in less than half an hour.

Kokkinakis lifted in the second set, finding his rhythm on serve to ask a lot more questions of the three-time defending champion, but ultimately he couldn’t make enough inroads on the Djokovic serve.

The second set finished with Djokovic dropping only five points on serve, having conceded only four on serve in the opener.

Another break came early in the third and from there, Djokovic ran away with the match. He posted a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory just short of two hours.

Kokkinakis was thrilled to be back competing at this level in big matches once again.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve had my best year to date. I think the more I can play against those guys on those big courts, it’s definitely a different feeling playing on an outside court to then coming there on Centre Court,” Kokkinakis said.

“I wasn’t sure which way to walk onto court, so I had to ask him going on the court.

“A lot of firsts for me this year, a lot of things I haven’t done. It’s tough. The result didn’t go my way today. I wish I could have played better. But, yeah, I’ll just use it and be better for it going forward.”

Kokkinakis career peak, pre-injuries, was a third-round run at Roland Garros in 2015. Djokovic also stopped him there, a symbol of the inroads Kokkinakis has made in his fight back this year.

He is also slated to play doubles, with his first-round clash alongside Nick Kyrgios scheduled for day four.

The pair won the Australian Open together earlier this year and will kick off their Wimbledon campaign against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene and Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

“It should be a bit easier than playing Novak, I hope,” Kokkinakis added with a smile.

Aussies in action – Wimbledon

TODAY’S RESULTS
Gentlemen’s singles, second round
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-1 6-4 6-2

COMING UP
Gentlemen’s singles, second round
[19] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Jack Draper (GBR)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v [26] Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
[Q] Jason Kubler (AUS) v [Q] Dennis Novak (AUT)

Ladies’ singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [Q] Catherine Harrison (USA)

> READ: Wimbledon doubles draws revealed

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