Australian star Thanasi Kokkinakis has broken down in tears on court after claiming his first win at the Australian Open since 2015.Kokkinakis' career has been cruelled by injuries since he broke through into the top 100 six years ago, with his current ranking of 267 his lowest since 2017.He was forced to retire hurt in his last appearance in Melbourne back in 2019, before missing the tournament all together last year, but marked his return with a 6-4 6-1 6-1 demolition job of first-round opponent Kwon Soon-woo.The 24-year-old's victory was met with rapturous applause on Court 3, and Kokkinakis was overwhelmed with emotion after he sat down and soaked in the moment."At 5-0 (in the third set), obviously I didn't want to think about the finish line, but I thought about it," he said.Kokkinakis thanks the crowd after his first-round win over Kwon Soon-woo (Getty)"I felt this massive roar and massive cheer from the crowd and I just started tearing up."There's just so much stuff behind the scenes to get back to that point that not a lot of people realise apart from my team and friends and family."Kokkinakis' ecstasy was a stark contrast to his countryman Jordan Thompson's agony after he was forced to retire hurt in his own first-round clash.After a sensational lead-up tournament last week, Thompson was forced to withdraw in the third set with his opponent, Norwegian 24th seed Casper Ruud, holding a 6-3 6-3 2-1 lead.It was a bitterly disappointing result for the 26-year-old who had been looking to build on a fourth-round appearance in last year's US Open.Jordan Thompson was left shattered after a neck injury ended his Australian Open campaign (Getty)"It's an unfortunate end to start off the year pulling out at your home Grand Slam," Australian tennis great Mark Philippoussis said on Nine's coverage."Obviously he must be very uncomfortable with a lot of pain to pull out because he's normally a fighter fights until the very last point."Ruud is a very tough player but it is someone he has beaten in the past and last time they played it was a five-setter."Through to the second round, Kokkinakis' task to advance further gets exponentially tougher with a match-up against Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on the cards.For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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