Thanasi Kokkinakis talks to the media after the 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 4-6 defeat by Juan Martin del Potro
Q. Another tough draw. How do you feel after that one?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Same as I did the last time. Again, had a few looks to win the match. I started off nervous again, but then once I started my service games I felt pretty good. Got on top of him in the second and then kept that momentum going in the third.
It looked like he was struggling a bit physically, mentally, I don't know what it was. He just seemed a bit lethargic.
Then I was on top of him and then I played a loose service game, lost focus. Then he got some confidence at that horrendous tiebreak, two double faults on my serve. I didn't serve that many for the whole match.
Then, yeah, I felt the fourth was pretty tight. He deserved to win the fourth.
Q. What do you take out of it overall?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: The same thing as last time, like I'm getting closer. Again, he served pretty good. Felt like when he was acing me he was hitting chalk every time. I was trying to cover the best serves.
But again, I'm colleagues against good players. Wouldn't mind playing somebody who is not as good (smiling). That's all right. It happens.
Yeah, I'm close. Have to keep working to stay healthy and trust my body.
Q. Is that good for your mentality that you are close to the players? Does it seem like the right path or right track?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's close but it's frustrating. That's why the win at Queen's was such a relief. I know I'm capable of it. It's just putting it together set after set. I was able to do it there. Wasn't able to do it here or French Open, but I'm getting closer.
It's good. I can keep working and take some things out of it, but yeah, definitely still frustrating.
Q. What's next for you after doubles?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: After doubles, my tournament-wise, Atlanta. I'm not sure what I'm going to do after Wimbledon. Maybe take it easy for like a week or something. Because I have been kind of just trying to get myself going rehab-wise, mentally.
Tournament-wise Atlanta is my first on hard court.
Q. Will you chase a few wildcards? Will you try to build your ranking at tournaments?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I'm not looking forward to next year. I have to do it. Atlanta I'm protected. I know I have a wildcard into Los Cabos, which is good.
My protected ends in US Open. So from then I've got to keep working hard and start winning some matches. I know I can do it, but it's just building your ranking up from then.
Q. Would you go back to the challengers if you had to?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: If I have to, for sure.
It's frustrating because I'm so close to these top players, but winning is winning and it's a good feeling and you want to get that momentum going.
Q. No Australian men have qualified through to the second round.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, that hurts.
Q. I'm wondering, amongst you all, what's the feeling about that? What's going on?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I mean, obviously a few of us have played some tough players. Everyone has got their own reasons. Obviously Nick is hurt. Bernie had a tough one. I don't know who else was there. John played Rafa.
Yeah, draws are a bit of a part of it. But I don't know, maybe we didn't all collectively play that great, but everyone's got their own reasons to why they didn't perform. I don't know.
But for me, I knew I was close. Wasn't good enough in the end there.
Q. It's not an institutional thing? Tennis Australia, support?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: No, that's just trying to make something -- no, not at all. We just didn't play well.
Q. Both the third and fourth sets came down to just a few key points. Do you feel like with a bit more experience you'll play those points better and perhaps win those sets?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I hope so. I mean, I did in Queen's. Probably a match I shouldn't have won. Then I have had others. I found like a couple points here and there.
Five sets is different. You've got to keep your focus for so long. And again, in the third set I just took my foot off the gas a little bit and he got momentum. Luckily I was able to take it to a breaker.
But yeah, I played a horrible breaker. Two double faults in a tiebreak, you're not winning that.
Then in the fourth, it's a couple points here and there. It was same at French. Hopefully soon I'll get it.
Q. Is that particularly frustrating when you've played well up to that point and got yourself into those situations and then you're not able to take advantage of it?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, definitely you want to hit a point where there is a lot of promise and looks like you're playing good and you're always competitive with good players but then you want to get over that hump and start winning those matches because a consolation prize isn't great.
Q. Bernie was saying he's demotivated and says the fact when he was younger that he's been touted as someone very talented and he played very young. You're someone who has broke out when you were quite young, as well. Have you ever felt something like this or can you understand how Bernie is feeling at 24 that he can't find motivation on the court?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's crazy he's 24 because he was been around so long. He was so good young. I think personally he's like a top 5 talent in the world.
But I don't know. It's tough for him. There is a lot of pressure on him obviously. He came up being so good. Hopefully he can get it together because he's a really good player, especially when he's switched on. He's so skillful.
But yeah, I don't know. For me, yeah, I feel a bit of pressure, but it's different now. I'm trying to get back. People kind of know the name and know like some wins I can have. But it's about being consistent and staying healthy for me.
Q. Your generation of players, not just the Aussies but all the NextGen players. Alexander Bublik was saying he's not too interested in watching Federer and Nadal. He likes watching the other guys in his generation. Do you find, is there a camaraderie amongst you players of that age?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: You grow up playing with each other. So at some point, yes. But you're not going to force yourself to become friends with guys who are the same age.
I'll still watch the top guys. They are at the top for a reason. When you can learn from them, you do that.
But I wouldn't say you're more interested in watching what the guys your age are doing because you are not just competing against those, maybe to make the finals in Milan, but you want to try to get past that and go for the real thing.
I don't know. I'm just trying to get better. You're definitely aware of what they are doing and how they're going, yeah, I think they are all getting better, which is good.
Q. What do you think of the idea of the NextGen Finals? Do you think it's a good thing?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I think it's a good thing. It will be interesting to see how the rules changes goes.
I have played in that format a couple of events back home. It was weird. So I don't know. You grow up playing one way, and then for things to change.
But I don't know. They will give it a try and see how it goes.
Q. I think you said a couple days before the tournament that maybe grass is not the most natural surface for you and you have to adapt your game a bit. Do you think if you played Delpo today on a hard court or clay court it might have been different?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don't know, it's hard to say because he's pretty good on those surfaces as well. Won US Open. I don't know what he made at the French. He's been a solid player.
I'd say clay and hard are probably my preferred, but again, I wasn't going into this grass court season thinking I'm like a liability on grass like I was in a couple years past. That's a good thing for me going forward. I feel better and more comfortable on a grass court now. I think that's only going to help for sure.
Q. One of the reasons Bernie gave, he said he was bored out there on court. Have you ever been bored on court? Sounds like a weird reason.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Wimbledon is probably -- probably not at Wimbledon. There is times for me in practice and maybe some smaller events. But I mean, feel like Bernie has been playing Wimbledon since he was about 11. Maybe he's bored. I'm not sure. I do know he's skillful and hopefully he gets it together because he's a good player.
Q. We were speaking to Del Potro about he's had really tough draws. So he was trying not to get frustrated by that. I guess with you, as well. How do you plan on just making sure you don't focus on that?
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Again, I didn't really focus on it too much. It's tough. You can only control what you can.
Again, I don't think I have played anyone over 30 in the world in my last four slams, outside of 30. When your ranking is like 9,000, like it is at the moment, you can't really argue about it. I have just got to get myself up and get some wins. Hopefully I'm seeded, get to that point, firstly breaking 100 again and try to get a seeding so I don't have to worry about it. But everyone can play whether you're seeded or not here.
Q. Juan Martin said in press conference you have everything to play good tennis in the future. How do you feel...
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It's obviously good hearing it from such a great player. Again, me and my coaches work on having a lot of weapons. We are actually pretty similar players, I find, me and Del Potro.
I showed sort of glimpses of it where I could string sort of two games together of really good tennis, and then my focus and intensity drops a little bit. I think that's going to be the thing going forward.
But yeah, to hear it from somebody like that, it's a good feeling.