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.”
Mark will have the opportunity to call on Fitzgerald for coaching assistance this season. Fitzgerald was re-appointed Davis Cup captain and the role is now a full-time job that requires him to keep an eye on the team players year round and help where needed. No word on whether Mark will actually use Fitzgerald regularly or not.
Philippoussis is out the Davis Cup against Argentina. The ankle tendon injury he suffered at Wimbledon is still being troublesome and he won’t be able to play on the 15th. And while Mark did move up in the 2005 Champions Race, by going out in the second round he lost the points he had from being the fourth round last year. It was a punishing drop of 66 points taking him to an all-time low of 208.
June 28, 2005: So far there’s been no word as to the results of Mark’s MRI, which hopefully means it wasn’t something severe. Fitzgerald is also holding off on naming the Cup squad to see whether Mark or Arthurs has the better fitness level.
June 23, 2005: It’s possible that there’s more injury bad news coming Mark’s way. After a night of sleep Mark was having trouble stretching out his right ankle. He was scheduled for an MRI late today to see if there was any ligament damange, but so far there’s been no update. Latest reports say that Mark is hoping to get a wild card for the Masters event in Los Angeles, though he might also apply for one in Indianapolis in mid-July as well. One article estimates that the early round loss is going to send Mark pluning to around 210 in the rankings.
It’s official – Mark will not be playing the opening round of Davis Cup later this month. Team captain Fitzgerald spoke with Mark several times over the past week and it was a mutual decision that Mark needed to stay in the US and get some tennis matches under his belt and continue working on his fitness. The Davis Cup team will consist of Hewitt, Woodbridge, Arthurs and Draper. The Franklin-Templeton Classic is underway in Scottsdale and Mark’s first opponent will be Tomas Behrend of Germany, currently ranked at 102.
Davis Cup coach Masur has done on record to say if Mark is fit they’re going to want him on the team. Of course that brings up the whole issue of whether Mark will be willing to make the trip back to Australia only days before Indian Wells.