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Aussie teen Tahlia Kokkinis relishing experience at Australian Open 2024 | 22 January, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Aussie teen Tahlia Kokkinis relishing experience at Australian Open 2024 | 22 January, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Queensland talent Tahlia Kokkinis scored her first Grand Slam win this week in the Australian Open 2024 Junior Championships.

Melbourne, Australia, 22 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Six years ago, a starry eyedย Tahlia Kokkinis stepped out at Rod Laver Arena to toss the coin before an Australian Open semifinal between Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens.

It was an unforgettable moment for the young Hot Shots Tennis player from Brisbane.

Kokkinis is back at Melbourne Park this week, creating even more on-court memoriesย as a wildcard in the Australian Open Junior Championships.

โ€œTo play here is like a dream,โ€ beamed the 15-year-old.

โ€œThe atmosphere is great. I really like the Australian support, itโ€™s amazing. I love playing in front of crowds, I like the positive energy that they bring.โ€

The world No.283 made an impressive start to her singles campaign yesterday, powering past Kazakhstanโ€™sย Asylzhanย Arystanbekova in straight sets.

Kokkinis credited the crowd support for inspiring her againstย an opponent who was two years her senior and ranked 227 places higher at world No.56.

โ€œThe crowd really helped me,โ€ Kokkinis said. โ€œWhen I heard that support it motivated me and made me stay focused.โ€

A young Tahlia Kokkinis with Elise Mertens and Caroline Wozniacki at Australian Open 2018. Picture: Getty Images

A young Tahlia Kokkinis with Elise Mertens and Caroline Wozniacki at Australian Open 2018. Picture: Getty Images

Her girlsโ€™ doubles campaign ended in the opening round today, bowing out in a close three-set battle alongside fellow Australian Koharu Nishikawa.

Kokkinis, who represented Australia in the Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals at Spain in November, now turns her attention to her second-round singles match tomorrow.

She plays 16th seed Iva Ivanova, a 17-year-old Bulgarian ranked No.22 in the ITF World Tour junior rankings.

โ€œI know her, but Iโ€™ve never played against her,โ€ Kokkinis said. โ€œI know sheโ€™s a pretty good player, so Iโ€™ll have to play well.โ€

Kokkinis is enjoying all the perks of competing at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, describing electronic lining calling, a serve clock and the opportunity to replay close line calls as โ€œreally coolโ€.

She does admit, however, that being surrounded by professional players still leaves her starstruck.

โ€œIโ€™ve seen a lot of them in the gym,โ€ Kokkinis said of the worldโ€™s top-ranked players.

โ€œIโ€™m speechless whenever I walk past any of them, I canโ€™t say anything.โ€

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