Kokkinakis Says 'Not Easy' To Beat 'Good Mate' In Brutal Five-Setter At Roland Garros

Kokkinakis Says 'Not Easy' To Beat 'Good Mate' In Brutal Five-Setter At Roland Garros

by Zachary Wimer

Thanasi Kokkinakis has played some amazing marathon matches in his career, and he recently added one to his catalogue at the 2024 Roland Garros.

The marathon match between Andy Murray and Kokkinakis at last year's Australian Open, which the Brit won, was certainly one to remember. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Australian, especially after battling for such a long time.

He endured a similarly long match at this year's Roland Garros against a good friend, Alexei Popyrin. This time around, though, he was able to win that match, 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, which makes it much more memorable for him.

Speaking after the match, Kokkinakis, who recently ended also Dominic Thiem's efforts in Madrid, admitted that it's never that easy to play and beat a good friend, especially in such a brutal way.

"It's definitely not easy playing a good mate and I thought Alexei played a hell of a match as well. He made me lift my level and I just had to stay with it."

Being on the other side of such a painful loss gives Kokkinakis a chance to really understand how tough it is. When asked what he told Popyrin on the net, he admitted that he didn't say much because, at that moment, a player doesn't want to hear anything, even if it's from a good friend.

"When you lose like that, I don't think you want to hear too much at the net. I just said 'tough one, hell of a battle' and he said 'good luck'. It's hard, I'm sure we'll talk about at some point down the track."

They will talk about it later, but Kokkinakis has a match to prepare for. It's going to be tough as, per his own admission, he won't get a lot of sleep.

"I'm a horrendous sleeper at the best of times. Tonight's gonna be rough."


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