March 28, 2006: On Saturday Mark followed up his first round win with yet another loss, this one 4-6, 6-7 (3-7) to Nieminen. No real match reports or news articles spoke of the match other than to say it was yet another in a line of disappointing performances for Mark. On Sunday Mark took to the doubles court with Safin, but they lost 5-7, 3-6 to Grosjean and Serra. Not exactly the kind of weekend Mark was looking forward to.
March 26, 2006: It took two days but Mark managed to beat Sanguinetti 6-4. 4-6. 6-3 to advance to the second round at the Nasdaq 100 Miami Masters event. It’s a good sign that Mark was able to keep his focus over two days of play and prevail after the rain delayed the match. Next up will be Niemenan.
Mark just cannot seem to catch a break these days. He was withdrawn from the BMW Tennis Championships Challenger in Sunrise, Florida. It seems that he has the flu and hopes to be fully recovered in time for the Nasdaq. So much for getting some more match play in.
There’s more bad blood brewing between Mark and Tennis Australia. Mark spoke to the press saying he will not play in the upcoming Davis Cup match and that he is sick of the back-room politics that go on. Reports indicate that Tennis Australia is less than pleased by this as they payed Andrew Florent’s coaching fees for three months on the understanding that Mark would be available for Davis Cup. And to make matters worse, the word is that tournament directors are starting to feel that Mark isn’t worth a wildcard if he’s not going to make it past the first round. Lucky for Mark he was awarded a wildcard spot to the Nasdaq 100 Masters event in Miami starting March 22nd, and in the hopes of getting some more match play Mark accepted a late wildcard offer to the BMW Tennis Championships Challenger event in Sunrise starting this Tuesday. Here’s hoping he can get a few wins under his belt!