It appears that Mark is in no hurry to start mending fences with Tennis Australia. TA invited Mark and four other Australian players to compete for the sole wildcard TA has for the French Open. Mark refused to compete for the wildcard. Not sure quite what he’s thinking, but this doesn’t seem like the smartest idea – his current level of play isn’t exactly enough to inspire TA to just hand over the one wildcard they have. Currently there’s no word on where or what Mark is exactly doing. He didn’t play in any of last week’s Challenger events, nor is he entered in any of this weeks.
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 He was withdrawn from the BMW Tennis Championships Challenger in Sunrise, Florida.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.
February 16, 2006 pm: I know I should know better than to get my hopes up with each tournament, but I really thought the win over Robredo might be the start of something good. Sadly it was not to be as Mark lost to Soderline 2-6, 3-6 today. What’s troubling is that in all of today’s press Mark has been relagated to the final lines listing results with not a word of how the match was actually played – that doesn’t happen when the match was a good one.
February 16, 2006: Mark got a vey nice little win last night, beating Robredo 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the SAP Open. This is Mark’s first win over a top-twenty player (Robredo is ranked 14th) sine May of 2004! Reports say that Mark look fit and held it together mentally despite some up and down play. Next up is Soderling in Round 2. Mark has also added the Bermuda Open challenger to his schedule. Play begins Aprul 15th.
February 13, 2006: The SAP Open started today and it looks like Mark will first take the court on Wednesday. He’ll be up against the number 4 seed, Tommy Robredo. It’s anyone’s guess what the match will be like as Mark has been avoiding the press like the plague. Unfortunately this month our message board was also hacked and all the data totally lost. With Mark playing so poorly lately the chatter has been almost non-existant so I’m not bringing a new board up. Once Mark gets on a role again (he will! he will!) if there’s an interest I’ll open a new one.
Mark is also still a borderline for consideration for the Davis Cup. Of all the articles, The Age really seemed to sum it up right:
The two-time grand slam runner-up looked fit and strong, was able to match the Frenchman for long periods from the back of the court. Some of his winners were breathtaking, full of power and precision, and his volleys were deft. But then there were double-faults and inexplicable unforced errors, way too many of them.
Mark still sounds pretty positive about his tennis and the fact that he’s planning to keep working hard on his game. He’s just waiting for that one breakthrough to really boost his game. According to his agent at IMG he has already secured wildcards to both San Jose and Las Vegas. And on the ironic trivia end of things, this bit from the Sydney Morning Herald is a good one:
A large poster of Mark Philippoussis still adorns the corridor of the ATP offices in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Immediately underneath the photograph is a quotation from John McEnroe: “This will be the next guy to dominate men’s tennis.”
January 17, 2006: Mark’s 2006 season is not going the way he could have hoped. For the first time in 11 years Mark was eliminated from the Australian Open in the first round. He was soundly beaten by Grosjean 4-6, 2-6, 3-6. Grosjean easily handled a weakened Scud serve and dominated him at the baseline. There’s been no word as to where Mark will play next.
January 16, 2006: Mark’s first match against Grosjean will be the second night match on Rod Laver Arena. There’s been no reports as to how Mark is looking as he’s been practicing at the Albert Park reserve and sessions have been closed to the public and media.
January 15, 2006: The draw for the Australian Open has been made. Mark is in the top half of the draw and his first round opponent will be Grosjean who’s seeded 25th. Top seeds in his quarter include Hewitt (3), Gonzales (9) and Coria (6).