Thanasi Kokkinakis at Memorial Drive ahead of the World Tennis Challenge. Picture: Matt Turner.
Thanasi Kokkinakis at Memorial Drive ahead of the World Tennis Challenge. Picture: Matt Turner.

Confident Kokkinakis ready for WTC test

TENNIS: Thanasi Kokkinakis says his World Tennis Challenge opener against Gael Monfils will offer an indication of how his Australian Open preparations are progressing.

The SA rising star touched down in his hometown at the weekend ahead of Monday night's first round of matches at the exhibition teams event at Adelaide's Memorial Drive.

Kokkinakis, who won two of his three matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth last week, said he felt fit and confident as he prepared to join Team Australia for the three-night tournament.

Frenchman Gael Monfils celebrates winning the Qatar Open. Picture: AFP Photo / Karim Jaafar
Frenchman Gael Monfils celebrates winning the Qatar Open. Picture: AFP Photo / Karim Jaafar

He said the match with world No. 46 Monfils would provide a stern test of his form after the Frenchman won the Qatar Open in Doha at the weekend

"Gael is obviously a great player," Kokkinakis, 21, said.

"He's one of the best players never to win a slam I think.

"It's going to be tough, but it's perfect for me.

"I feel good, I feel healthy.

"I can play my couple of matches here which means I've had five guaranteed matches going into the Aussie Open."

Frances Tiafoe and Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia pose with young fans at Memorial Drive on Monday. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images
Frances Tiafoe and Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia pose with young fans at Memorial Drive on Monday. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Kokkinakis' clash with Monfils will headline the Team Australia versus Team International clash.

Night one kicks off at 6.30pm when the home side's John Peers and Henri Kontinen face Scotland's Jamie Murray and Brazil's Bruno Soares in doubles action.

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Mark Philippoussis takes on former world No.1 Mats Wilander in the legends double match.

The pair will be joined on court by wildcards Henri Leconte (France) and Mansour Bahrami (Iran).

The tournament will also feature Team USA boasting teenage gun Frances Tiafoe, ex-world No.15 Robby Ginepri and doubles greats Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.

Participating players gathered at Adelaide's Urban Beach on the banks of the River Torrens on Monday morning to launch the event and meet local children.



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