Mark roared to a start today with a stunning upset win over Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 7-6 (7-0). Post-match mark said he was thrilled with his win and that it was a reward for his weeks of hard work. Alicia Molik also won her match against Petrova. In the mixed they lost 6-7 (6-8), 1-6. They next play France (Tatiana Golovin and Jerome Haehnel) on January 2nd. On a fashion-related note Mark it appears has been back to the tattoo parlor as his tattoo of Alexander the Great shows some new flames or other work surrounding as compared to his earlier one.
Mark is still in waiting to find out if he will receive one of the three remaining wild cards for the Australian Open. He is hoping that a good showing at the Hopman Cup starting on the 30th will help sway Tennis Australia his way. Mark has been working in Adelaide with Darin Cahill and looks to be in very good shape. Cahill says it’s an informal relationship – he’s just helping a friend – and while he will not be in Perth had no comment on any other upcoming tournaments. Expected to arrive in Perth is Mark’s dad, Nick, who has been absent from the circuit for several months. Despite constant rumors in the press that the falling-out had more to do with Mark’s then fiance Alexis, at a press conference in Perth Mark again spoke that the need was just to be out on his own for a while and that he was still in regular contact with his father. (At the press conference Mark also confirmed that he’d split with Alexis back in September).
Mark lost to Henman 6-7 (4-7), 4-6 in their exhibition match at the Blackrock Masters in London. Not a win fans would hope for, but considering it’s his first match against a top player in some time it at least wasn’t an embarrassing loss. Mark has been confirmed to pkay in the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand starting on January 8th. He’s also announced that he will not play in the Australian Open qualifying rounds and will instead request a direct wildcard for the event. Tournament director Tiley has gone on the record as hoping that Mark will re-consider as there is no guarantee the Open will grant him that wildcard. With a current ranking of 114, Mark would need the help of lots of withdrawls to make a direct entry to the Open.