Healthy Kokkinakis hoping for a break

Thanasi Kokkinakis is long overdue a change of luck on the illness and injury front.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia serves in his singles match against David Goffin of Belgium in the 2018 Hopman Cup at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia serves in his singles match against David Goffin of Belgium in the 2018 Hopman Cup at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Thanasi Kokkinakis started the year losing a staggering 14kg - as well as his tonsils - but is hopeful a horror run with injury and illness is behind him and he can finally fulfil his tennis potential.

Standing 193cm, Kokkinakis's weight dropped to just 68kg after he was knocked sideways by glandular fever and ended up in hospital for a week, having his tonsils and adenoids removed.

It was the latest blow in a cruel series of injuries for the former Australian Davis Cup hero, which has included shoulder, elbow and knee injuries, lingering osteitis pubis, pectoral issues and torn oblique and abdominal muscles.

Throw in lockdown in Melbourne and it's been an incredibly tough time for the 24-year-old.

"I lost 14 kilos with the glandular fever so I wasn't in a good spot but I'm just happy to be back playing now and feeling good and hopefully I stay healthy as that's my only goal," Kokkinakis told AAP.

"It wasn't good to see, I looked malnourished.

"It's been really tough.

"It's been tough for everyone, but most people got the first two or three months of the year but it all started for me in December after I did my pre-season.

"I went through a lot of times when I was struggling a bit mentally but first and foremost I was just trying to get healthy."

Kokkinakis started to feel good in April but was again forced off court when Melbourne went into lockdown.

As hard as that was, the South Australian said COVID-19 was an unlikely blessing, as he couldn't push his training.

"I didn't want to go overseas as I thought I'd have a weak immune system coming from sickness so I didn't want to risk catching anything so I've just hustled it out in Melbourne," he said"

Fourteen months after his last comeptitive match, Kokkinakis made a successful return in the UTR Pro Tennis Series event in Melbourne which started Monday.

He opened with a 6-1 6-0 win over Jai Corbett.

Only managing nine events in 2019, Kokkinakis, who eliminated Roger Federer from the 2018 Miami Open, said he was trying to make up for lost time.

He estimated he'd lost at least 30 months of his short career.

"I'm just training and trying to get back the few years I've missed," he said.

"I couldn't care if I play in the smallest backyard ... it's good getting the juices flowing and getting competition back and I'm hoping things will turn."