Emotions were high as injury-plagued Aussie tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed his first win at the Australian Open in six years.
The 24-year-old was hit with glandular fever this time last year and has a long list of serious injury setbacks throughout his career which has stopped him from playing in the Australian Open.
Kokkinakis was overwhelmed with the energy of the crowd as he dominated the match 6-4 6-1 6-1 against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon.
“At 5-0 (in the third set) I felt this massive roar and cheer from the crowd and I started tearing up,” Kokkinakis said.
“It was a bit of a soft moment but there was just so much stuff behind the scenes to get back to that point that not a lot of people realise.
“I definitely got a bit emotional. I had a lot of friends and family there watching. They probably made up about 90 per cent of the stands, so I’m appreciative of that.
“Just playing with that energy and crowd and being able to win – there was so much work behind the scenes and so much pain – it’s just a massive relief.”
The joy coming from Kokkinakis could be felt worldwide, as Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer extended his congratulations.
Federer isn’t playing in the tournament for family and injury reasons but was clearly following along at home.
“Nice one Thanaser. Happy for you,” Federer wrote.
Kokkinakis, who previously defeated Federer in 2018 at the Miami Masters in 2018, was thrilled with the message, sharing it on his Instagram story with the caption “What a king!”.
People were also delighted with Kokkinakis’ outfit, which he said was a “Kmart special”.
“It’s a Kmart special. I went to Chadstone, bought some $6 tees and went to work,” he said.
“I just felt comfortable in it. I tried to order some more online but they got cancelled and they didn’t make it through to South Yarra.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.