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Kokkinakis’ Hollywood-style Indian Wells prep

  • Rhys de Deugd

Ahead of back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 events in the United States, Thanasi Kokkinakis took the opportunity to immerse himself in the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles.

After withdrawing from his first round of qualifying in Acapulco, the Australian crossed the border into California for a quick training block in the build-up to Indian Wells.

The 27-year-old trained on multiple picturesque courts in Beverly Hills and conducted some sessions with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, which grabbed the attention of Hollywood A-listers.

“I practiced with Novak for a day or two, again in Beverly Hills, at another private house,” Kokkinakis told The AO Show podcast.

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“I remember I was warming up, and I go to pick up my bag, and Dr. Phil’s just there with a face full of makeup. I think he just came from a show.”

Kokkinakis was then starstruck by a meeting one of the biggest names in Hollywood, who was eager to watch some pro tennis players in action in his hometown.

“Forty-five minutes into the hit, the front door opens up, and I just said I can’t believe what I’ve just seen, Leonardo DiCaprio walks in,” Kokkinakis said.

“Probably the biggest A-lister movie star there is.”

The world No.99 took to Instagram to share some moments from his time in the City of Angels, including a hit at the renowned James Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills.

The iconic mansion that overlooks the city has a tennis court Kokkinakis described as “probably the coolest court” he has ever played on.

“You don’t get too many of those courts in Australia,” he said.

“It’s insane to practice there, some of the spots in LA, it’s great to recharge.”

After several injuries plagued the early part of Kokkinakis’ career, the Aussie welcomes such a recharge as he builds towards spending more consistent time on court.

He reached a career-high ranking of world No.68 in 2023, playing more tennis in a calendar year (challenger and tour-level combined) than ever before.

This year, Kokkinakis has already claimed some big results, including three top-50 wins.

Outside of his Acapulco withdrawal, he is 6-2 since the Australian Open, only losing to world No.6 Alexander Zverev, and rising American star Alex Michelsen.

Kokkinakis opened his campaign at Indian Wells with a win over world No.48 Marcos Giron.

The biggest test of his year awaits him in the second round, where he faces Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner.