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Between Greece and Australia, Thanasi Kokkinakis chooses both

30 September 2015 / 20:09:48  GRReporter
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In recent years, many Greek family names have appeared in world tennis. But despite the initial impression left by the sound of them, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are not competing for Greece but for Australia.

A few days ago, Kokkinakis arrived in Athens to participate in the match, demonstration, with Stefanos Tsitsipas that was organized by the Greek OTE TV channel and took place at Tatoi Tennis Club. During the visit, he gave an exclusive interview to the Greek website for tennis news, tennis24.gr.

In ithe interview, the 19-year-old tennis player is speaking about how much he feels like a Greek, which is his major sporting purpose, relating interesting things from his life and career. Along with Thanasi, his father Trevor and his brother Panagiotis arrived in Athens as well. As tennis24.gr editor Marinos Tachtsidis writes, Kokkinakis who was born and raised in Adelaide understood very well the questions that the media representatives asked in Greek. According to him, the tennis player can speak Greek too but lacks the confidence to speak it freely.

Thanasi Kokkinakis’ major goal is no different from that of all his colleagues, namely to win a Grand Slam title. "I would like to win such a title. My career is just beginning and its start was very good. When you are young, you have many dreams and want to do many things. I would also like to participate in the Olympic Games, to compete with the national team and win a Davis cup. I will do my best for it," he told tennis24.gr.

The number 71 in the world tennis rankings is using his trip to Athens to rest, have a walk and enjoy Greek cuisine.

"I have been relaxing and having a rest these days. I needed this. This year I played a lot of tennis and needed a few days of rest. In Athens, we went out and had a good time. I enjoy Greek food very much and like eating grilled meat, potatoes with oregano, aubergines and more. For dessert I chose mainly loukoumades (fritters with honey - editor’s note)."

Kokkinakis feels Greek and does not hide it. "Origin is very important for all people. Both my parents are of Greek origin. I was born in Australia, I went to school and learned to play tennis there. But I feel Greek. I feel very close to Greece. I would like to come here more often, although it is difficult. I will try to come more often. There are many European tournaments and I will try to organize short holidays here while they are taking place. I owe much to Australia, because I grew up there, but my family is Greek."

Thanasi Kokkinakis notes that the support of the Australian Tennis Federation is crucial for his success in tennis. "In Greece, tennis is not as popular as football and basketball. In Australia, tennis has a long history, there are very good tennis facilities and children can easily start getting involved in this sport, whereas children in Greece want to play football and basketball more. The Australian Tennis Federation has helped me a lot. My coach Todd Langmann is its collaborator. The team that participated in the Davis Cup supports me as well.

Tachtsidis and Kokkinakis finish the conversation with a round of quick questions and answers.

Federer or Nadal? - Federer.

Grand Slam or number one in the world? - Grand Slam.

Djokovic or Murray? - Murray.

US Open or Australian Open? - Australian Open.

Serve or return of serve? - Serve.

Sharapova or Ivanovic? - Ivanovic.

Forehand or backhand? - Forehand.

Australia or Greece? - Both (he is laughing).

Cross court or down the line? - Down the line.

Tags: SportsTennisThanasi KokkinakisGreek originAustraliaMatch in Athens
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