5 minutes with Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis
Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis are lighting up the game on the world stage – winning many fans not only with their talent, but their sportsmanship too.
The Australian favourites want to set a good example for the next generation and inspire more kids to get involved in the sport through ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play.
Why are you an ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play ambassador?
Daria Gavrilova: ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play gives kids the chance to play in a team in a fun and social environment. It’s the perfect way for kids to build on their skills and develop their passion for the game.
Thanasi Kokkinakis: Hitting with others in a team environment like ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play is a fantastic way for kids to meet other kids of a similar age and similar tennis ability.
What was your experience playing competition tennis when you were a kid?
Thanasi Kokkinakis: I really enjoyed playing competition tennis as a kid. Competition was interesting, because even though you’re competing against other people, it was just all about fun, improving your game and making sure that you enjoy it. To enjoy it was really the biggest thing for me because I was playing a lot of other sports, but I was always looking forward to playing tennis.
When you were a kid, how would you put the skills that you learnt in coaching into practice?
Daria Gavrilova: Competition tennis definitely helped me to practice my skills. I would always use my favourite shots to win points, I knew that my coach would be proud of me if, for example, I played my forehand down the line, I’d use it during matches and it would pay off.
How important is it for kids to not just be coached, but to have match play experience too?
Thanasi Kokkinakis: Match play is a lot different from coaching, you play against a lot of people. There are a lot of people who look really good in practice but then when it comes to playing matches they’re not used to it and they get nervous. The sooner you can get into a controlled competitive environment, it really grows your skills and your confidence.
Daria Gavrilova: It’s great to be exposed to competition tennis and to have the opportunity to play team tennis. Having the support of your friends and team mates is something very important and it is a really special feeling when you win for them. And even when you lose you know that you’ve given it your all and they are always there for you.