Meet Tahlia Kokkinis, a 14-year-old from Brisbane who is one of Australia’s most promising junior players and a National Tennis Academy athlete.
Tahlia Kokkinis is currently the youngest athlete at Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy.
The 14-year-old from Brisbane already boasts an impressive tennis resume. She has won national titles, represented Australia in the Junior Billie Jean King Cup competition and recorded 19 wins from her 26 junior matches on the ITF World Tennis Tour so far this season.
Kokkinis has also been testing herself on the professional tour. She has spent the past month competing in Tunisia, where she has scored wins against players eight years her senior.
In our series profiling Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy athletes, Kokkinis reveals her future goals and role models …
How did you start playing tennis?
My dad wasn’t really brought up with tennis, but he became a tennis coach, and he first took me out on a public court to play at age three. I’ve loved it ever since.
What do you enjoy most about tennis?
I’m really competitive, so I like competing and the adrenaline. It’s just a fun sport to play.
What have been the highlights of your tennis journey so far?
I really love being able to travel overseas and experience different cultures. With tennis you get to go everywhere. I find it incredible that you can meet all these new people and have different experiences.
What has been your favourite place to travel?
I really like Europe. All parts of Europe are really beautiful. I also liked Egypt, that was really cool.
What are your tennis dreams?
I hope to win at least one Grand Slam title and become the No.1 in the world. I know that will be tough, but that is my goal.
Who are your favourite tennis players?
I really liked Ash Barty when she was playing, she was one of my favourites. I also like Novak Djokovic, he’s pretty cool. Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer) are pretty incredible as well.
Tahlia Kokkinis at the National Tennis Academy in Brisbane. Picture: Tennis Australia
If you could steal a stroke from any player, who would it be and why?
Probably Ash Barty’s slice backhand. It was amazing. I really liked her creativity. I’d take her serve too, which was incredible.
Can you describe your playing style in one sentence?
I like to be aggressive and rip the ball.
How are you enjoying your time at the National Tennis Academy?
I like it here, it’s really good. The facilities are great and I like making friends and reconnecting with people I’ve met when I was younger.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since joining the National Tennis Academy?
I guess to never give up and train hard. It’s important to build your endurance, work on things you need to work on and try to improve the little things.
You are one of the youngest athletes at the academy, is that challenging?
I like the challenge of playing older people. Age is just a number.
Tahlia Kokkinis during a National Tennis Academy wellbeing camp in Noosa. Picture: Tennis Australia
What your off-court passions?
I really love animals. I have a chicken called Margie and a dog called Sophie. She’s a chihuahua cross Jack Russell Terrier, who is so small and cute.
What do you like to do when you’re not training?
I love watching movies. I’m a movie fanatic and try to watch one every day. For me, relaxing is putting my headphones in and just watching a movie.
Is there a genre of movies you most enjoy?
I like all genres. I love action, adventure, thrillers and comedies. The Terminator franchise is my favourite. I just love it. It’s a really cool concept, very original and I like the actors. Arnold Schwarzenegger is great.
If you weren’t pursuing tennis, what would your dream career be?
Acting. I did a little bit of drama when I was little and I love acting. Another career path I’d like is helping animals that are in need and opening up shelters. I don’t agree with animal cruelty.
What advice would you share with other aspiring players wanting to pursue their tennis dreams?
It’s important to follow your dreams, enjoy the journey and just go for it.
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!