Thanasi Kokkinakis got a grass tennis lesson yesterday from Gilles Simon during a 64, 62 loss at the Queen’s Club second round. But the 19-year-old Australian took some fun out of it, joking afterward that at least he got to see some popular faces in the crowd.
“I saw that,” Kokkinakis said we told Top Gear present Jeremy Clarkson was watching in the stands. “Got a bit distracted, actually. Oh, there he is from Top Gear. Again, disappointing performance in front of him.
“I looked over when I was down like a set and double break. I was like, Ah, this is rubbish. At least I saw some important faces in the crowd. That’s good.”
Liam Payne of One Direction was also in the crowd, unnoticed though by Kokkinakis.
As an Australian, Kokkinakis has quite a grass heritage, but the youngster is still finding the footing tricky as Wimbledon looms.
“Movement is the hardest part about it,” he said. “Obviously different to clay. Comes through a lot quicker, so I’ve got to get prepared earlier, which is what I didn’t do today. But, yeah, hopefully another week and a half before Wimbledon and I’ll be ready.”
Over the weekend, Kokkinakis rushed home from London to Australia to see his ailing grandmother. He returned after the 48-hour journey Sunday and won his first round on Monday over Jeremy Chardy.
“I came back to see her,” he said .’Once I was home, there was not really anything else I could do. It’s a bit of a waiting game, really, which is disappointing. You feel like you can’t really do anything. That’s what it is. She’d prefer me to go out and play and do what I do. Happy I got the win for her yesterday but today wasn’t to be.”
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