Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis faced a chorus of boos from the Davis Cup crowd when he playfully expressed his preference for Chelsea over Manchester United and Manchester City during an on-court interview following his victory over Dominic Stricker.
The moderator posed a playful question, saying, "Well, we're here in Manchester, so I have to ask you: City or United?" However, Kokkinakis decided to playfully chose a football club from another city altogether. With a grin, he simply responded, "Chelsea."
On Saturday at the AO Arena in Manchester, Kokkinakis clinched a 6-3, 7-5 victory against Switzerland's Dominic Stricker in their singles match, thereby averting Australia's elimination from the tournament.
In last year's tournament, Australia had secured the runner-up position, after losing to Canada. The Australian team holds the prestigious distinction of being the second most successful team in the history of the Davis Cup. They have clinched the coveted title an impressive 28 times, trailing only the United States, who have won it 32 times.
Kokkinakis reached a career-high doubles ranking of world No. 15 on 21 November 2022, thanks to his victory at the 2022 Australian Open and his semifinal run at the 2022 Miami Open, where he partnered Nick Kyrgios.
The standout moments in Thanasi Kokkinakis' 2023 ATP tennis campaign
Thanasi Kokkinakis, currently holding the 74th spot in ATP men's singles rankings, commenced his season in Adelaide, reaching the second round but losing to Jannik Sinner. He then pulled off an upset by defeating world No. 6 Andrey Rublev in a thrilling match but fell short in the semifinals against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Although his ranking dropped to 159, he had a strong start at the Australian Open, advancing to the second round after defeating Fabio Fognini.
In a marathon second-round match against Andy Murray, lasting over five hours and ending after 4am, Kokkinakis recorded the third-latest finish in ATP tour-level history.
Additionally, he secured his sixth ATP Challenger title in Bahrain, re-entering the top 100 rankings and earning a wildcard for the Dubai Championships, where he reached the second round.
Kokkinakis reached the second round in Indian Wells but lost to Carlos Alcaraz. As a lucky loser at the 2023 Miami Open, he faced a lengthy second-round match against Hubert Hurkacz.
In Madrid, he exited in the first round but made it to the second round in Rome. At the French Open, he earned a wildcard, achieving notable wins against Dan Evans and Stan Wawrinka in the second round, marking his return to the Roland Garros third round after eight years. However, his run ended with a four-set loss to Karen Khachanov, resulting in his return to the top 100 rankings.
Prior to the Davis Cup, he participated in the US Open but was knocked out by Yu Hsiou Hsu in the first round.