Kokkinakis set for tennis return

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — JANUARY 07: Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia plays a backhand during his doubles match partnered with Jordan Thompson against Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin during day seven of the 2017 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 7, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

LEO SCHLINKHerald Sun

AFTER 18 months of injury frustration, and January’s false start, Thanasi Kokkinakis is finally poised to return.

Restricted to just one singles match since October, 2015, the South Australian baseliner is among the entries for the Madrid Open from May 7.

“That’s the plan, that’s the aim,” Kokkinakis said from Dubai, where he will train before transferring to Nice in preparation for Madrid.

“It’s been a tough run. It’s just a matter of getting the confidence back in the body and it’s been tricky mentally dealing with everything.

“I need matches and as soon as I’m ready to go, I want to be able to play which is why we’ve come to Dubai.”

Using a protected ranking of No.81, the talented baseliner will contest qualifying at the claycourt Madrid Masters Series event.

Thanasi Kokkinakis has barely played in 18 months. Picture: Getty Images

Thanasi Kokkinakis has barely played in 18 months. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Kokkinakis, 21, underwent shoulder surgery in late 2015 and played only one singles match last year, losing in the first round of the Olympic Games.

He resumed in January in doubles, capturing the Brisbane International title with Jordan Thompson.

But strained stomach muscles forced him out of the Australian Open.

Already established as a formidable Davis Cup player, Kokkinakis’ return — provided he stays fit — would give Lleyton Hewitt another singles option in the absence of Bernard Tomic.

Kokkinakis will use a protected ranking to enter the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open as well as four other events.

He has been offered a wildcard into Los Cabos, Mexico, in July.

Originally published as Kokkinakis set for tennis return

SOURCE: newsnow sport