Serena Williams' ex-coach heaps praise on Thanasi Kokkinakis after marathon French Open win over Stan Wawrinka

Thanasi Kokkinakis beat Stan Wawrinka in a five-set thriller at the French Open
Thanasi Kokkinakis beat Stan Wawrinka in a five-set thriller at the French Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis' stellar on-court performance has earned him plaudits from Serena Williams' former coach Rennae Stubbs.

The Australian's heroics ensured his win over former French Open winner Stan Wawrinka in the second round of the 2023 French Open on Wednesday, May 31. Up against the Swiss, Kokkinakis rallied from a set down to beat the three-time Grand Slam winner, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3.

His marathon win over Wawrinka was Kokkinakis' first five-set win at a Grand Slam since the 2015 French Open. He beat Bernard Tomic in the second round before losing out to Novak Djokovic in the next round in 2015.

Stubbs, 52, is a four-time Grand Slam winner and has coached the likes of Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Samantha Stosur, and Eugenie Bouchard. The Australian turned to Twitter to reflect on the match and heaped praise on her compatriot.

Touching upon his bad luck with injuries, Stubbs expressed her happiness at Thanasi Kokkinakis beating a former Grand Slam winner. The tennis coach also called Wawrinka, "one of the best."

"Really proud of @TKokkinakis!! I love Stan & love watching him play but this kid has gone thru hell & back with injuries! His loss to Andy Murray in Australia was tough to watch….Stan will be in the HOF & is truly one of the best and u saw the fight but happy for ol mate TK." Stubbs tweeted.

Speaking to the media after the match, Kokkinakis shared how desperate he was to win this five-setter on Wednesday. This is because he has already lost a five-setter earlier this year to Andy Murray in the second round of the Australian Open.

“The first set and a half he was playing I think the best tennis he can play. I was just trying to hang in there. I lost a match in a Grand Slam earlier this year against Murray from two sets to love [up], I didn’t want to do it against another legend," Kokkinakis said.

Thanasi Kokkinakis to take on Karen Khachanov in the third round of French Open

2023 French Open - Day Four
2023 French Open - Day Four

Thanasi Kokkinakis will lock horns with Russian Karen Khachanov in the third round of the tournament on Friday, June 2. The Russian beat Radu Albot in straight sets in the second round.

In the first round of the French Open, the 2023 Australian Open semi-finalist came from two sets down to beat Constant Lestienne, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

On the other hand, Kokkinakis beat Dan Evans, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round, his first win at Roland Garros since 2015.

Reflecting on his current performance at Roland Garros, Kokkinakis said that he loved the "atmosphere."

"2015 was the last time I won a match at Roland Garros, and I made the third round… I love the energy, I love the atmosphere and we’ll see what happens," the Australian added.

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Khachanov last met in 2018 at the Monte-Carlo Masters. Playing in the Round of 64, the Russian beat the World No. 108.

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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