Nick Kyrgios ‘no saint’, but he’s also unfairly criticized, says Thanasi Kokkinakis; expects Aussie to continue the 2022 promotion into the new season

Nick Kyrgios has garnered a reputation for being tennis’ bad boy, but that doesn’t mean all the criticism he gets from the press is fair. At least that’s what his best mate Thanasi Kokkinakis thinks about the spirited Australian.

At his press conference ahead of the Australian Open 2023, Kokkinakis shared his thoughts on the press’s portrayal of Kyrgios. He said his actions would not have received as much media attention if someone else had done them. Kyrgios’ “reputation” ensures that some of what he does comes across as too negative, according to the 26-year-old.

“I think some of that stuff [Nick Kyrgios] that’s going to put a little bit more of a spotlight on what people might see as negative than others because maybe he has a reputation for that,” Kokkinakis said. “A few things wouldn’t be like that if other players were focused on that like Nick does.”

At the same time, Kokkinakis admitted that his compatriot was “no saint” either, noting that not all of his behavior over the years was justified. The Aussie, however, didn’t want to judge, noting that everyone dealt with it differently and that Nick Kyrgios was simply doing his best to get back to his Imperial best.

Last year was such a season for the world No. 21, who reached his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon before losing to Novak Djokovic in the summit battle. Thanasi Kokkinakis expects more from his doubles partner again this year.

“[Nick Kyrgios] is also not a saint. He’s done a few things that are probably justified. I find some things unfair. At the end of the day, he just finds a way to make it the best it can be,” said Kokkinakis.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him. He feels like he’s trying to be the best he can be. Sometimes he gets by with it. Everyone deals with things in different ways. He had a phenomenal year last year. He’s going to move on giving is everything,” he added.

Kokkinakis touched on his own goals for the season, stating that he wants to match his career high – world number 69, which he achieved back in 2015 – and maybe even try to finally surpass it.

The world No. 110 added that he wants to win another title in 2023, stating that if he stays healthy and improves his game slowly and steadily, he can definitely achieve it.

“I want to get back to my career high. I did it last year. I think it’s the first time in seven years. I don’t know if it’s happened before, someone hits their career high and then hits it again, like seven.” years later. I’ll try to beat that,” said Kokkinakis.

“My goal is to win another title this year. I want to try to get into the top 50. I just want to be healthy and keep playing and improving my game. If I can do that then I think the rankings will follow . ” he added.

‘Someone’s going to beat us’ – Thanasi Kokkinakis doesn’t expect to defend Australian Open doubles title alongside Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios (L) and Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Nitto ATP Finals
Nick Kyrgios (L) and Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Nitto ATP Finals

Last year, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis made history at the Australian Open, becoming the first all-Australian couple to win the doubles title in the 21st century. The Aussie doesn’t expect to successfully defend the title this time and predicts he and Kyrgios will definitely be beaten by a proper doubles team at Melbourne Park in the coming weeks.

While he promised fans that the pair would definitely attend the event, he wasn’t sure how they would pull off something as big as defending a Grand Slam title, especially given the goals they now have on their backs to have.

“Last year was something [Nick Kyrgios and I] not expected. I remember after every game we won, people texted me saying, ‘You’re going to win this thing.’ I say, ‘No, someone is going to hit us. We will definitely lose against a double team'” said Thanasi Kokkinakis.

“From the quarter-finals it became a possibility, a legitimate thought, we can be better than these guys, we can win. We’re going to go out there and give 100%. Hopefully when I go into the game we’re both healthy to say I expect to back it up, I’d be lying, yes,” he added.

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