It’s been a quiet month for Mark with not much news until recently. Mark has returned to Melbourne and is currently practicing at the Tennis Australia facilities with Darin Cahill (though it is undetermined whether this is a new full-time coaching arrangement or just temporary). Mark did apply for and receive an injury protecting ranking of 112. That ranking is available for nine months from the return to play or the first eight tournaments. Unfortunately while much better than his current ranking of 1115, it’s still outside the main draw (104) for the Australian Open so he will have to hope for a lot of withdrawls or a wildcard. The wildcard option is still very much a battle of wills. Tennis Australia is insisting that Mark come to the play-off like any other player and Mark is insisting that he will not come and deserves a wildcard due to past performance. It will be interesting to see who wins. Mark would like to start his season at the Adelaide International on December 31st but will have to wait on a wilcard decision from tournament co-director Mark Woodforde. Woodforde says Mark is being considered based on the crowd he would draw for his return to play. On a somewhat sour note both Rafter and John McEnroe were quoted in the press as questioning Mark’s will to return. McEnroe took the more severe line calling Philippoussis one of the laziest players he’s every worked with.