Aussie Kokkinakis opens eyes with neon outfit, high-fives after upset

Thanasi Kokkinakis played in front of a packed house on Court 3, and he high-fived the fans after beating Ernests Gulbis.

Michael Dodge/Getty Images

MELBOURNE, Australia — It was hard to say what was more fearless about 18-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open on Monday — his inspired play against 11th-seeded Ernests Gulbis or his hot pink and neon yellow outfit.

Kokkinakis, who had never played a match going to five sets before, saved four match points in the fourth set and six break points in the deciding set before putting Gulbis away 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 8-6 in just over four hours.

The Australian teenager celebrated with a breakdance-inspired move — a high-kicking back roll — and then circling Court 3 to give high-fives to the packed house.

The gritty, come-from-behind win was reminiscent of some of fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt’s dramatic five-setters at Melbourne Park over the years, but Kokkinakis isn’t getting ahead of himself.

"He’s done it a few more times than once," he said.


As for his outfit, which conjured images of Andre Agassi’s flashier ensembles, Kokkinakis agrees it’s out there. He said his clothing sponsor picked it out especially for him.

"They were like, we only give this to a few. If you’re up for it, wear it," he said. "I wore the stripes last year, but that was nothing compared to what I wore this year. … I was like surely in this outfit I’ve got to get the win."

Here’s a better look at Kokkinakis’ outfit:

Looking good, Thanasi Kokkinakis.