August 2, 2006: Yesterday Mark withdrew from the Vancouver Open due to “suspected back problems.” There’s been no update as to what that is but it is likely a reoccurrance of the back spasms that bothered him back in February. Mark is still scheduled for the dBI tournament next week in Binghamton. (thanks to Ruth for the injury news)
July 30, 2006: Mark has been given a wildcard into the Odlum Brown Vancouer Open, a Challenger event in Vancovuer, British Columbia. His first round match (played either Monday or Tuesdau) will be against Simon Stadler of Germany. (Thanks to opiklop for the heads-up).
Mark will next play in the dBI Tennis Challenger event in Binghamton, New York which runs Aug 7th to 13th. Tennis Australia has set another wildcard exchange with the US Open organizers and they will be deciding in the next few weeks whether to award the wildcard directly or have a play-off for it. While the US Open takes 128 spots, Mark just misses out as places need to be held open for qualifiers and wildcards – Mark will need that wildcard to will have to qualify. The US Open begins August 28th.
While Wimbledon may not have been as good as he’d hoped, Mark is pleased that he showed some good form and feels fully healthy right now. In his post-match press conference he spoke about the need to get out onto the Challenger circuit: “I’ve got to sit down with my agent and see what is out there, but I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of Challengers in America. This is no time to be fussy – this is just a time to get out there and no matter what tournament it is, just go out there and play it.” A good sign that Mark is finally willing to put in the grunt work needed to improve his ranking (especially as it’s likely that the Wimbledon wildcard may be the last one he sees if he doesn’t start advancing farther into tournaments). Also Mark appears to have a new agent, Carlos Fleming, though I assume he’s still with IMG. Also a bunch of Wimbledon photos added.
June 7, 2006: Mark’s first round match at Surbiton was not an encouraging one as he lost 4-6, 4-6 to Whitehouse – a player currently ranked 602! So far there are no real match reports in yet as every article has relegated the results to a one-liner at the bottom of the other articles. Several used the words “slumped to defeat” which leads one to believe that it wasn’t exactly a promising performance. Also today former teammate Todd Woodbridge went on the record in The Age to state that following the grasscourt season Mark should stop trying to pursue wildcards, swallow his pride and hit the Challenger circuit and play as many matches as he can get in order to find his game rhythm again. The All England Club will decide next week whether to grant Mark’s request for a wildcard.
June 6, 2006: Mark takes the court tomorrow as the last match of the day on Court B. Good luck Mark!
June 5, 2005: The Surbiton draw has been made and mark will play Wesley Whitehouse, a qualifier, in his first round match on Wednesday.
June 4, 2006: We’ll get the chance this week to see just how much work Mark has put into his fitness over the past few months as he’s entered in the Subiton Trophy Challenger in London. Men’s play starts on Tuesday, June 6th where he’s likely play a qualifier. Full draw will come out tomorrow afternoon. (thanks to Kathy for the tip!)
April 21, 2006 pm: Some bad news on the Mark front – he withdrew from his doubles match tonight with a sore left knee. No other news on how bad it was, but hopefully nothing serious.
April 21, 2006: Unfortunately once again Mark was unable to back up a first round with another one. He lost last night to Mardy Fish 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 4-6. The one bit of good news about this loss is that it was close and Mark managed to win the first set. It was the windy conditions in the 2nd and 3rd set playing havoc with his serve that really cost him. Philippoussis and Becker also won their first round doubles match against Delic and Goldstein 6-1, 4-6, 11-9. They will play their second round doubles match tonight against Fleishman and Pehar, so at least Mark’s getting more time on court.
April 19, 2006: Mark finally managed a tournament win, defeating Marin 6-1, 6-1 yesterday at the first round of the Bermuda Open. He next faces a bigger challenge in Mardy Fish. Mark is also playing doubles in Bermuda with Benjamin Becker of Germany. Their first match is tonight against Delic & Goldstein. Also Mark has been confirmed for the Harrah’s Entertainment Pro Challenger in Tennessee in May.
April is not turning out to be a better month for Mark with a 1-6, 2-6 loss to Jenkins at the River Oaks International. What’s frightening about that result is Jenkins is ranked 236th! If Mark wants to save what’s left of his tennis career these are not the kind of players he can lose to. Mark’s wildcards are also in jeopardy as his biggest supporter at Tennis Australia, Paul McNamee has departed. While it may hurt Mark’s ego to have to qualify for the French and Wimbledon, doing so may be better for his game as he could get a few wins under his belt before the main draw begins. (thanks to Vittorio for the River Oaks info)