Tennis Prose




Nov/20

5

Biofile: Mark Philippoussis Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Won eleven career ATP singles titles. Won two Davis Cups for Australia in 1999 and 2003 (won the deciding rubber in each). Retired in 2015. Highest singles ranking was no. 8.

Ht: 6-4  Wt: 202

Born On: November 7, 1976  In: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hobbies/Interests: “Yoga. Tai Chi. Horses. Playing the odd 18 holes of golf. I’ve always liked backgammon with my father.”

Eearly Tennis Memory: “My earliest memory would be when I was six-years-old. My dad (Nick) came back home from work. He used to take me to play some tennis. There was two hardcourts in back of an old church where we used to go. Actually there was three…the other one didn’t have a net. And two were always taken so we used to play without the net. And it was cement so it wasn’t actually hard court. It was just like the road – cement – with lines on it [smiles].”

Pre-Match Feeling: “Normally I feel a little bit nervous. Walking on the court, my stomach’s rumbling a little. So I’m just nervous, basically. But it’s a good thing. As soon as I’m on the court I’m fine. I just love playing the game. I’m going to fight every time, every point I can. I’m doing everything I can to dedicate my next five years in tennis, put everything else aside – which I haven’t done in the past. I’ve stopped dirt bike riding, snowboarding, sports bikes. I was happy just to sit in the Top 20, get in the Top 10 here and there, drive fast cars, go out. Obviously I had too much fun. Looking back now, I don’t regret it. I’m a young guy only once. I’m happy. I felt like I’ve got that stuff out of the way. At the end of my career, I don’t want to think, I had so much talent. What if I worked harder? How good could I have become? I don’t want to do that. That’s one thing that scares me.”

Favorite Movies: “I love movies…Black Rain, The Matrix, Bad Boys, Point Break. I like Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Wesley Snipes and pretty much all the action movies.”

Musical Tastes: “Blink 182, 311, the alternative music, a bit of Greek music too.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “The biggest thing in my tennis career so far was winning the Davis Cup, end of 1999 (Mark won both of his singles matches vs. Cedric Pioline and Sebastien Grosjean on clay in Nice. Australia won the tie, 3-2.). That was big. That’s been the biggest high. And I think when I was 18, I beat Pete at home in Melbourne in the Australian Open (’96). That was also a top moment. (Mark defeated Sampras in the 4th round 6-4, 7-6, 7-6.)”

Most Painful Moment: “Quarterfinals of Wimbledon ’99 when I heard something in my knee go and pulled out. And I tore my cartilage. Had to pull out in the quarterfinal against Pete (Sampras, up one set to love and with a break point at the time of injury). I was feeling great that day. Who knows if I would have ended up winning the next two sets or ended up losing the next three. You don’t know. But that definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to go out.”

Closest Tennis Friend(s): “It’s tough to have close freinds in tennis. Everyone’s out for themselves.”

Toughest Opponent: “I’m not afraid of playing anyone. But the toughest would be Agassi. His returns, his groundstrokes…he’s so tough. Puts a lot of pressure on you.”

Favorite Meal: “Japanese food.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “TCBY white chocolate mousse.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Would have to be Froot Loops.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Very honest, down-to-earth, up-front and a sense of humor.”

First Car: “Blue Ferrari 348 Spider.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “I love watching basketball, the Lakers. I’m getting into wrestling lately [smiles]. That’s really entertaining. Gotta love The Rock, Triple H, all those guys are just so funny to watch. Also, I like the heavyweight title fights with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. And Gabriela Sabatini. Loved her. Had a big poster near my bed [smiles].”

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 5, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Mark played in two Grand Slam major finals, losing to Rafter at US Open and Federer at Wimbledon. His last pro match was in 2015 at Newport doubles QF with Ryan Harrison. He lost in Newport qualies 1R to Eric Quigley 2015. His best match was beating Sampras in AO and almost beating him at Wimbledon before the knee injury felled his efforts.

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