Thanasi Kokkinakis has broken down in tears after winning his first match at the Australian Open since 2015.
The 24-year-old has been plagued by injuries and illness in recent years.
He even received a private message from Roger Federer after the win.
Kokkinakis says times have been so tough, he’s been left without a clothing sponsor.
“[I] bought some six-dollar tees and went to work; I just felt comfortable in it,” he says.
“I tried to order some more but they got cancelled and they didn’t make it through to South Yarra.”
Meantime, Ash Barty has backed up her solid form in the lead-up events to win her opening round match against Danka Kovinić, 6-0 6-0.
The world number one isn’t surprised to be playing so well, despite barely playing any competitive tennis last year.
“I know that deep down, my team and I have done the work – we’ve earned the right to play at this level,” she says.
“I think there’s always a little bit of the unknown at the start of a season, particularly after such a long break, of what that level might be – knowing that there’s every chance that it’s not going to be exactly where we want it straight away, but that’s the challenge – coming out here every day and trying to bring my best stuff.”
Other Australians to advance on day two were Sam Stosur, Daria Gavrilova, Alex De Minaur, Chris O’Connell, and Alexei Popyrin.
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