Better late than never, the rest of the results from the Outback Champions Series in Dallas. Following his match against Korda, Mark played Todd Martin and won the match 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 (Champions Tie-Break). I believe Mark then played a match against Ferreira but I could find no articles mentioning it. In the final match for third place on the 22nd Mark, the youngest player, took on John McEnroe, the oldest, and lost 4-6, 4-6. It was McEnroe’s crafty skills that vanquished Mark’s power. Philippoussis said he was not sure what his next event would be, but he is planning to play the Australian summer circuit in January and will ask for a wildcard into the Australian Open. Mark also posted a short blog entry on the tournament site where he spoke about his plan to move from Vegas back to San Diego (what that will mean for his training with Gil and Andre is anyone’s guess). Mark’s going to need help whatever he does as he dropped to an all-time low of 1109th in the rankings. He has an injury protected ranking of 112 but has yet to file any paperwork to take advantage of this.
Mark has begun speaking to the press again and has been speaking about his return to tennis. The good news is the knee is at 100%, the back problems are what’s been holding him back and right now that’s about 70% back to normal. He’s playing the over 30s event to judge his fitness and test the knee and back out. He hopes to play a few lesser events this fall and then return to the ATP main ciruit for the 2008 season – hopefully with an Australian Open wildcard. He’s been working hard in the gymn wil Gil and practicing with Andre in Vegas and says that every day things are going better.
While there’s still no official word on why Mark isn’t playing, USA Network addressed the question “Where is Mark?” during today’s broadcast. While they didn’t have an answer, they did report that Mark was offered a wildcard spot for the US Open and turned it down. A shockingly good offer, yet still no Mark on court. What we can expect from Mark when he turns down a Grand Slam wildcard remains to be seen. Australian Tennis also addresses a similar question and features Mark on the cover of the September issue.
Mark has officially delayed his comeback until the Newport Championships in July. His manager says that Gil Reyes feels that Mark is only around 95% fit and they don’t want to risk further injury. In what is either a good case of spin or just an earlier misprint, Mark’s manager says that Mark was offered a Queen’s club wildcard but turned it down because he wasn’t fit enough. Because of his win at Newport last year, tournament officials have extended him a wildcard. Newport stars on July 9th.
It appears that wildcard chances do not last forever. The Age reports that Queen’s Club officials have rejected Mark’s request for a wildcard entry into the main draw. If he wishes to play he will have to qualify. With time spent on the reality show and no recent match play to show form, it is likely that “No” will be the similar response from Wimbledon as well.
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.