Thanasi Kokkinakis doubtful of Special Ks doubles title defence, Nick Kyrgios

Thanasi Kokkinakis is doubtful he and doubles partner Nick Kyrgios can win back-to-back Australian Open titles following their remarkable run at last year’s slam.

The pair, affectionately dubbing the Special Ks, will team up again for this year’s Open after going on a giant-killing streak in 2022 that culminated with them defeating fellow Aussies Matt Ebden and Max Purcell in the final.

Kokkinakis and Kyrgios enter the major as the No. 7 seeds after claiming the Atlanta Open doubles title in July.

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Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis talk tactics in last year’s second-round Australian Open doubles win. (Getty)

Asked if he thought he and Kyrgios could defend their AO title, Kokkinakis was skeptical.

“No, I don’t,” he said with a laugh.

Last year was something we didn’t expect.

I remember people messaged me after every match we won being like, ‘You’re going to win this thing’.

‘I’m like, ‘No, someone’s going to beat us. We’re going to lose to a doubles team, for sure’.

“It became a possibility from the quarter-finals. I legit thought, ‘We can be better than these guys. We can win’.

Special Ks’ celebration fail after winning semi

“If I was to say I’m expecting to back it up, I’d be lying.”

In spite of his disbelieving outlook, Kokkinakis said the duo would do everything within their means to repeat last year’s heroics, even while funneling their efforts into their respective singles campaigns.

“We’re going to go out there and give 100 per cent,” he said.

“Hopefully we’re both healthy going into it.”

Kokkinakis and Kyrgios will play Colombia’s Nicolas Barrientos and Uruguay’s Ariel Behar in the first round.

After a fiery encounter with Croatian pairing Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic at last year’s event, the Special Ks will not face them unless both progress to the final.

The pair are among 17 Australians who will contest the men’s doubles competition.

Thirteen Australian women will make up the women’s doubles draw, including Storm Hunter and the retiring Sam Stosur.

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