Roger Federer's act of 'pure class' hailed around the world

·4-min read
Pictured left, Roger Federer's classy message for Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Roger Federer's classy message for Thanasi Kokkinakis has been praised across the world. Pic: Instragram/Getty

Roger Federer has shown once again why he's one of the world's most beloved tennis stars, after a lovely gesture to mark Thanasi Kokkinakis' historic moment.

Kokkinakis put years of injury hell behind him to claim a first ever ATP title on Saturday night after winning a thrilling Adelaide International final in three sets.

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The incredible tennis renaissance of Kokkinakis was made even more special by the fact the South Australian's biggest career achievement came in his home city.

Kokkinakis lit up the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre as he shrugged off a first-set deficit to beat big-serving Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-7 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

Billed as one of Australia's next big hopes in tennis, Kokkinakis has been cruelled by a horror run of injuries over the last five years that left him contemplating early retirement.

Shoulder, pectoral, groin, knee and elbow injuries and a serious bout of glandular fever had stripped him of long periods of tennis over that time.

Only a fortnight ago, the 25-year-old was ranked 171 in the world, but a golden run in Adelaide - that included a semi-final in the first tournament last week - will leave him knocking on the door of the top 100.

If that wasn't incredible enough for the Aussie, Federer made the victory even more special with a personal message of congratulations to the 25-year-old star on social media.

The beautiful gesture left the tennis world singing the praises of the classy Swiss, who's been forced to miss the Australian Open due to injury.

Kokkinakis famously beat Federer in the 2018 Miami Open in what was arguably the biggest result of his career before Saturday night's title in Adelaide.

A teary-eyed Kokkinakis said after the match it was probably the most emotional he'd felt in his life when Rinderknech's final ball sailed long.

Thanasi Kokkinakis wins career-first ATP title

"Not just (happy) for myself and the work I put in but everyone that stuck by me," he said.

"They see me at my lowest points. To ride this high, it's just validation, just happiness for everyone involved. It's as much their title as it is mine."

It didn't come easily on Saturday night as Rinderknech bombed down aces seemingly at will.

The Frenchman was imperious on serve in the first set, not facing a break point.

Kokkinakis largely also delivered on serve and pushed Rinderknech to a tiebreak.

Thanasi Kokkinakis is pictured here celebrating his Adelaide International title.
Thanasi Kokkinakis won a thrilling Adelaide International final for his maiden ATP singles title. Pic: Getty

Unfortunately, the Australian blinked first, netting a straightforward forehand after a second serve when 6-7 down in the breaker.

Driven by a raucous crowd, he returned the favour in the next tiebreak to take the match to a decider.

From there it was all Kokkinakis, crunching forehand winner upon winner and breaking Rinderknech twice to seal the match.

Kokkinakis said he'd already reflected on his journey and was at peace with dropping off the tennis radar and everything that entails.

"When you're doing well, everyone wants to pat you on the back, message you. When you're on the other side, a lot of people don't really care," he said.

"But it took me by surprise the first couple of years. The last three years I kind of stopped caring about what other people thought..."

Kokkinakis will head to the Australian Open full of confidence and will play qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the first round before a likely second-round encounter with Rafael Nadal.

with AAP

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