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Kokkinakis pulls out of Sydney tennis

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017 Rob Forsaith

Thanasi Kokkinakis has started yet another year with an injury setback, but the shattered young gun is optimistic he could be playing doubles at the Australian Open after withdrawing from the Sydney International.

Kokkinakis was set to make his long-awaited singles comeback on Tuesday in Sydney, having endured shoulder, pectoral and groin injuries during a 15-month stretch on the tour sidelines.

But an abdominal strain, suffered during his victory in the final of the men's doubles event at the Brisbane International, forced the the 20-year-old to pull out of his clash with fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.

Kokkinakis will have scans on Wednesday, with the 20-year-old unsure how serious his latest niggle is.

A singles tilt at the Australian Open - where he can play with an injury-protected ranking of 81 - looks to be off the cards with the ATP event at Indian Wells in March the next most likely place to fully re-launch his career.

But he refused to set a definite date on his return.

"Could be soon; could be later," Kokkinakis said.

"I have set too many goals for myself as far as tournaments go and schedules go.

"Indian Wells. That's the next big one, I guess, barring the Australian Open.

"All the experts I have spoken to (say) it's nothing too serious. I just need the scan tomorrow to say that, as well."

Doubles partner Thompson was among many wanting to know whether Kokkinakis will be part of next week's Open at all.

"Jordan came up (and asked) 'what does that mean for (Australian Open) doubles?'," Kokkinakis said.

"I'm still keen to play, obviously, but ... I can't make any guarantees on anything.

"I thought it was just a cramp, which is weird to get it in that area.

"I have had a few little things but nothing long term, I hope. Touch wood ... the body just didn't pull up great from the doubles (in Brisbane)."

Kokkinakis' career has stalled since 2015, when he bettered Bernard Tomic in a memorable five-setter then lost to Novak Djokovic at the French Open.

He played a solitary competitive singles match in 2016, at the Rio Olympics. Kokkinakis admitted it was hard to stay upbeat about yet another injury.

"The last couple of injuries I had last year, I was obviously initially disappointed but then I just kind of laughed it off," he said.

"I mean, what can you do? You can't really dwell on it.

"I know where my level is at and I'm very confident in my game. I just can't keep missing weeks and missing time with little niggles."

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