Kokkinakis vows to live up to the ‘special K’ label

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He's already a world top 10 junior, now Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis is tipped as a future tennis star after a victory in the first round of the Australian Open.

After a victory overnight in the first round of the Australian Open, wildcard Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis looks set to go from strength to strength.

He may only be 18 years old, but Thanasi Kokkinakis is already one of Australia's most promising tennis prodigies.

The Adelaide-born all-rounder has trained with Roger Federer and is making his mark on the tennis world in 2015.

Last night, the wildcard entry into the Australian Open defeated Latvian eleventh seed Ernests Gulbis in five sets to progress to the second round.

"Physically I feel pretty good, a lot better than I did last year," Kokkinakis said.

Kokkinakis has been playing since he was eight years old

His first major international debut was in the 2013 Hopman Cup.

Soon afterwards he made it to the finals of the Australian Open Juniors.

Despite starting 2014 ranked 570, Kokkinakis has steadily improved, beginning the year ranked 147th in the world.

He's one of the Special K's  -- a title shared with fellow Australian player and friend, 19 year old Nick Kyrgios.

Both progressed to the second round of the Australian Open overnight.

Kokkinakis says he's already seen an improvement in his game in 2015.

"A lot of matches last year, I was winning a set against these good players, but never able to finish the match through. So I'm really happy with how I've stuck together."

But the wins from the two young talents have come with a message from former Australian Open champion, Pat Rafter.

"I don't think we should get ahead of ourselves," Rafter said.

"We've got good numbers coming back into it but I want to keep it all in perspective too."

Kokkinakis will face off against fellow Australian Sam Groth in the second round of the Open.

"It's going to be a tough match, he's playing the tennis of his life, serving unbelievably but if I can tough it out and dig every time, I feel like I've got a good shot."

 

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