A couple of articles added about Mark’s new coach Andrew Florent. It seems that Mark made the call 3 weeks ago and two days later Florent had joined Mark in Miami to start work. While there is no confirmed tournament for Mark to return to play (he’s still off courst for at least 2 more weeks), he might start with the US Mens Claycourt Championships in Houston on April 18th.
Philippoussis engaged! Last week while in the US Mark proposed to Alexis Barbara, his girlfriend of five months, an 18 year old model / actor from Florida. Friends of Philippouss were told last week and someone passed the news to the media which has been running with the story. So far there has been no official word from Mark or his agent. (Given this site’s policy of trying to stay away from Mark’s personal life, I’m hesitant to list this, but it’s covered extensively in the Australian media so it’s no secret anymore). On the tennis front there’s been no announcement yet of a wild card for the Pacific Life Open.
Mark is currently working hard during the off-season to prepare for 2005. He is working out with fitness trainer Heon and working on-court with John McEnroe. On the personal life front Mark and Delta did indeed split in October, though contrary to the various reports Mark is currently single. [My apologies for the lack of updates – too much work travel has kept me from having the time to get it done.]
There’s some hope for Mark’s game next season. The Herald Sun has reported that Mark is making a permanent move to Cardiff-By-The-Sea and will resume working with fitness trainer Markus Heon. Heon is the man who got Mark into top shape in 2003 when he made his run to the Wimbledon finals (most notably by having him push Heon’s Jeep up a hill). Here’s hoping he can work his magic a second time. The Stockholm Open starts this week and while there has been no official announcement of withdrawal, Mark is not listed in the draw so it looks like he won’t be playing and his 2004 season is over. But looking ahead, Mark has been confirmed for the SAP Open (formerly the Siebel Open) in San Jose from February 7-13th. Lastly the Australian press is reporting that socialite Paris Hilton made a public statement that she is now dating Mark. Neither Mark nor Delta have made any formal announcements as to their possible split.
June 21, 2004 A final update on the BDCC, Mark played his final match against countryman Todd Reid and won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
June 18, 2004: Mark had today off but will return to court tomorrow to play Massu at the BDCC. At Wimbledon Mark’s first opponent will be Rochus of Belgium, whom Mark lost to earlier this year in Dubai. Several articles added – I recommend “We love you, we love you not…” as it’s an excellent snapshot of Philippoussis.
June 17, 2004: Mark played Gonzales in the first round robin of the Boodles and Dunthorne Champions Challenge yesterday, however it was another loss: 7-5, 5-7, 6-7 (1-7). What’s tough about Mark’s recent losses is that they’ve been very close – a point here or there makes all the difference. Next Mark was due to play Moya today but Moya withdrew to the flu so Mark played against Lee Childs (an upcoming English player ranked 262) and finally got that winning feeling 6-3, 6-1. . On the Wimbledon front, Mark has been seeded 11th for the tournament, which puts him in the top of the bottom half of the draw. Fellow seeds in his quarter include Henman (5), Robredo (20), and Nalbandian (4). (Thanks to Judith for the BDCC info!)
June 15, 2004: The Boodles & Dunthorne Champions Challenge starts tomorrow and while it’s only an exhibition, it is a good chance for some grass matches against some of the top players. Unfortunately they don’t always post their results so if any Londoners see the results posted locally, please let us know! And while Mark hasn’t been playing well lately, there is hope for the future. His current trainer Brett Stephens has said that the results of his work with Mark won’t really show til January. They plan to spend the limited off-season doing some heavy duty training in Australia, something Mark has never done before. But Brett says that he has been working with Mark and he will be ready and physically fit for Wimbledon.
Mark the fashion designer! There’s finally an explanation for Mark no longer wearing Fila apparels. Mark has been working on his own clothing line called “MP” and will be debuting the first pieces at Wimbledon. The line is co-designed by fellow Australian Bruno Schiavi and is expected to launch in early 2005. The clothing will feature a sun logo and should be rather unique – he was inspired by streetwear and the colors are lime green, burnt orange, blue and red (well at least the future ones, obviously the Wimbledon line will be white). The good news is that Mark told The Sunday Telegraph that he has four more years of tennis ahead of him!