Unfortunately it’s no surprise that Mark won’t be competing in Arizona. Apparently Mark is still rehabing the knee and had to withdrawl. Mark’s next scheduled tournament is in Adelaide in January 2010.
In news that is somehow depressingly familar to fans, Mark has pulled out of the Charlotte tournament. Even worse, it’s knee related – it’s not fully recovered yet. The tournament quoted Mark saying, “I am disappointed that I am not quite ready to compete in Charlotte. My doctor tells me I will be ready to go for the Stanford Championships in Dallas next month and I can’t wait to step on the court there.”
The anticipation is high and the questions are many as Mark prepares for yet another comeback performance. The Outback Series event in Charlotte starts on the 24th and it will be Mark’s first tournament since getting injured at the Australian Open wildcard playoff 9 months ago. It’s now been 3 surgeries and 10 years since he made his first Grand Slam final appearance (1998′s US Open against Pat Rafter). What kind of player this version of Mark will be is anyone’s guess. No reporters have ventured to find his practice grounds so there’s not even a hint of what we’ll see. Here’s hoping it’s all good!
A date has been set for a tennis comeback, if not one on the main circuit. Mark has signed to participate in the Champion Series event in Charlotte from Sept 24-28th. The Champion Series is for players over 30 and will be an eight man round-robin format. The event is to be a test-run for the knee to see how it will hold up to match play for a hopeful return to the ATP circuit.
Good news for Mark is that the surgery went well and the damage was not as bad as anticipated. He’s expected to be on crutches for two weeks. He’s currently rehabbing in the pool and then it’s back in the gym. Mark’s given a couple interviews where he spoke about be willing to wait and see what his body tells him and not push to get back on court before he’s ready. His priority is to rehab the knee.
The news is out and it’s all bad. Mark’s withdrawl from the Open play-offs with knee pain turned out to be what we all feared – an MRI revealed a cartilage tear in his right knee. Yes, the same knee that broke down last January. What’s sobering this time around is there’s no talk of “I’ll be back soon,” but instead Mark had this to say “I’m just going to be thinking about spending time with my family, spending time at home and then assessing things — you know, where life will lead me and what direction I want to take in life and whether I’ll be going again.”