Mark is in Hawaii this week playing at the Wailea Men’s Challenger in an attempt to boost his rankings to get directly into the Australian Open. When entries close next week it is likely that the last direct entry will be 105. Currently ranked at 117 Mark will likely need to make it to the final in order to get the rankings boost. In Hawaii Mark played a rather uneven match 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 2-2 and was helped by his opponents withdrawl in the third. His second round opponent will be Brendan Evans.
A bit late on the news, but Mark had pulled out of the Nashville challenger with tendonitis (inflamation) in his right bicep. Mark is also confirmed for a charity match at the Royal Albert Hall on December 5th during the BlackRock Masters seniors tournament. Mark will play against Henman to raise funds for charity. There’s been no word on what events Mark is planning for the early 2007 season, however the direct entry cut-off for the Australian Open is 100 so he’ll need to play some early tournaments if he hopes to boost his ranking enough to avoid qualifying.
Mark will next play in the Music City Challenger in Nashville, TN starting on November 6th. His first round match will be against Cecil Mamiit and should be on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for Mark, the Wailea Challenger didn’t go as planned for a big rankings boost as he lost to Evans 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the second round. Monday’s rankings should have Mark ranked aroung 113. As to what Mark intends to do to play in the Australian Open is anyone’s guess, but his three options are: 1. Attend the Tennis Australia training camp from the 10th to 19th and hope to be awarded TA’s wildcard slot; 2. He can appeal directly to the Australian Open as they have four wildcard slots still open; 3. He can skip the wildcard process entirely and play in the qualifying rounds. Either way Mark’s going to need a little bit of luck to make it to round one.