London: Injury-plagued Thanasi Kokkinakis revealed he was closing to quitting tennis before enjoying the biggest win of his career against Milos Raonic at Queen’s Club on Tuesday.
Kokkinakis needed a wild card from the tournament organisers to make the Queen’s main draw after his ranking plunged to 698 following a variety of ailments that sidelined him for 18 weeks.
“I can give you a whole rundown, but it’s just absurd,” he said.
“Obviously the shoulder was the big one. I tore my oblique, I had osteitis pubis, I tore my pec.
“I had an elbow issue, and I’m still dealing with my groin and shoulder issues, and my back is stiff.
“I’ve got a lot of things. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I’m over 30, but this is interesting.”
The 21-year-old was so frustrated by his fitness problems that he was on the verge of walking away from the sport for good before the recent French Open.
“I was being serious. I’m usually not a hot head, but in practice a couple weeks leading into it, I was just like breaking racquets every day in practice and that’s not me,” he said.
“I was just hating it. Winning and playing well in practice was good, but then I wasn’t translating.
“I just didn’t feel that confident. I felt like some of those issues I was having a long time were still there, and I just wasn’t feeling great with my game.”
Kokkinakis was talked out of his gloom by his family and coach and opted to give it another shot.
Finally fit, although still less than 100 percent, Kokkinakis secured his first Tour level match win for 21 months at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week.
But he lost in the second round and when he was paired with Raonic, who made the final at Queen’s and Wimbledon last year, his expectations weren’t high.
So his 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8) upset of the Canadian world number six was a well-timed and richly-deserved reward for his perseverance.
“I have been pretty resilient during this time. My coach and family are a big part of that,” said Kokkinakis, who faces Nicolas Mahut or Daniil Medvedev in the last 16.
“That’s the biggest thing for me. Obviously a win like today helps.
“It’s huge. Best win of my career. And to do it so soon after coming back on such a long layoff is a huge confidence booster for me.”