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Kokkinakis comeback on track, but future still wide open

Tennis

Adelaide's Thanasi Kokkinakis admits the temptation is there to dive straight into the Australian Open after capping his comeback by claiming the Brisbane International doubles title with Jordan Thompson.

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The Australian wildcard duo eased past American Sam Querrey and Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in last night’s doubles final on Pat Rafter Arena, winning 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

It was the first ATP final of any kind for either player and, for Kokkinakis – still not at 100 per cent fitness – it marked his return to competitive action after 15 months off following shoulder surgery.

The 20-year-old is also entered into the Sydney International, where he will meet Thompson in the first round, but is yet to decide if he will accelerate his comeback with singles play at the Australian Open.

He said it would be “pretty stupid” to play a best-of-five tournament given his lack of recent tennis.

Kokkinakis can still play in the Australian Open main draw if he wishes because of his injury-protected ranking.

“I still don’t know. It still feels stupid to me to try to play five sets with a real spotty pre-season at best,” Kokkinakis told reporters after the doubles victory.

“I have missed too much time now to put too much emphasis on one tournament.

“It’s definitely tempting, and I want to get out there, but I have a good group around me.

“I need to listen to my body first and foremost and then come up with a plan on what’s going to be best for me, long term, because I’m still young. Even though I feel like I have missed so much time, I have a long career ahead, I hope.

“I just want to do what’s best for that.”

Kokkinakis and Thompson were not even supposed to be playing together in Brisbane until injuries to other players led to them joining forces, becoming the first Australian pairing to win the tournament’s men’s doubles crown.

“To go on a run like that with a mate and to beat some really quality teams, and to do it in a place like Brisbane, such a good event, as an Australian, it’s pretty surreal,” Kokkinakis said.

“I haven’t experienced that for a while. To be honest, I haven’t experienced a competitive match for a while.”

-AAP

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