August 17, 2004: In his post-match interview, Mark said his poor form was a result of a tendonitis flare-up in his knee that prevented him from pushing off to power a serve. This is a first time for tendonitis and Mark doesn’t think it’s related to his cartilage injections, but he will be stopping in Miami to see his specialist before heading up to New York to prepare for the Open. The biggest problem seems to be that due to the scheduling of the injections, prior to his first round match Mark was only on court 4 times in the past month and didn’t have time to adjust his knees to the hard court surface and triggered the tendonitis.
August 16, 2004: Olympic disaster for Philippoussis is what the headlines are going to read later today. Mark lost 6-3, 0-6, 1-6 to Rochus today in Athens. Something serious must have happened (no news reports just yet) because he was serving well (75%) in the first set and then it all just went to hell. The second set is listed as only lasting a mere nine (yes 9!) minutes (and probably wins some record for shortest set ever). But looking at the numbers Mark had 11 (!) double faults in that set – that’s more than two complete games! Add to that an 8% first serve percentage. And even more frightening – he didn’t win a single point on his serve that entire set which means he lost every game at love! Hopefully news reports later today can offer some explanation – or if any readers saw the match and would care to report please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 15, 2004: The schedule for Monday has been released and Mark will play Rochus as the second match of the night on Court two. The night session starts at 5pm Athens time and they follow a ladies match.
August 14, 2004: The Olympic opening ceremonies were yesterday and Mark was marching in the forefront of the Aussie team. Sadly even the good looking Greek-Australian couldn’t even make the team uniforms look good – they were lambasted all across the Aussie press spectrum. The tennis Olympic action starts tomorrow, but Mark will have a day of rest and isn’t expected to play his first round match til Monday. In an article about Delta’s health scare in The Australian (she was taken to the hospital with a slight fever after performing for the team), there was one very interesting sentence: “The two were joined by his coach, Brad Gilbert.” This is the first mention of Mark working with Brad Gilbert and given that Brad is currently Roddick’s coach it’s highly likely that The Australian got it wrong. But this is tennis, so anything is possible.
August 12, 2004: The draw has been announced for the Olympics and Mark will have the chance for a little revenge against Olivier Rochus in the first round. It was Rochus who defeated Mark in the first round of Dubai earlier this year. See the complete draw
August 10, 2004: Mark arrived in Athens this morning and ready to go in his quest for the gold. The tennis is set to begin on August 15th and the draw is expected to be announced later this week. The ITF says it will be featuring live scoring on their website: http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/. They also posted an audio interview with Mark – it’s dated this week, but based on the content it’s from much earlier in the year. On a lighter note, the Australian edition of match.com voted Mark the sexiest male Olympian!
Unfortunately Mark has indeed scheduled a series of knee injections before the US Open and as a result has pulled out of the Tennis Masters event in Toronto. He hasn’t formally withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters next week, but I would expect him. I’ve updated the print articles with an interesting bit on the Pacific Life commercial.
January 6, 2005: The tennis gods must have it in for Mark in a bad way. At the start of the third set in his match against Wessels Mark felt a pain in his groin and called for the trainer. While he managed to finish the game, losing 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 2-6, a post-match scan confirmed the bad news. He has two small 2cm tears in the adductor muscle. While it’s not a career-ending injury, it does put his Open start in jeopardy. At a news conference Philippoussis was hopeful of making the Open, but with only 10 days to go it’s not very likely (or if he does make it that he’d be able to last a five set match). Ironically the same day it was announced that there had been enough withdrawls from the Open that Mark would make it in on the direct entry and wouldn’t need the wildcard. Mark is now headed back to Melbourne for further treatment and rehab.
January 3, 2005: It wasn’t quite the start Mark wanted to his 2005 season with a 5-7, 2-6 loss to Hrabty in the opening round of the Hopman Cup. Post-match Mark said he was in need of match play to get his form back, but his failure to do much damage with his serve or not even attempting to run down several Hrbaty balls is a bit concerning. Thankfully Molik helped carry Philippoussis throught he mixed and combined with her earlier win Australia advances to the next round.
January 2, 2005: Mark takes the court tomorrow for his first match of the 2005 season against Hrbaty of Slovakia. They’ve played twice before with Mark leading 2-0 but their last match was in 2000. Mark also finally spoke to the press saying that he feels he’s in good shape and playing well but needs match practice to get that full mental match toughness. He doesn’t expect to be back to top form for several months and knows that the Australian Open will be a struggle. Of his time spent with McEnroe, Mark said it was Mac who approached him about working together and Mark jumped at the opportunity. Of their time together Mark said: “We did a bit of hitting, we did a lot of fitness as well with his (McEnroe’s) physical trainer, and just a lot of talking, about what happened, what did go wrong and what I should be doing.”
December 29, 2004: Mark arrived in Perth yesterday and today practiced with David Sanguinetti in preparation for the Hopman Cup. Mark is still declining all media requests so the press had to rely on Sanguinetti for some news on practice. He reported that Mark seemed to be playing well with better groundstrokes and moving into the court more often than in the past. The Hopman Cup starts January 1st. Good Luck to Mark in 2005!
The new year is upon us and it’s time for the new season to get underway. Mark said he has completely recovered from the torn pectoral muscle and is ready to go for the Australian summer circuit. He’ll first hit the courts competitively at the Qatar Open on January 5th. Then it’s back to the mainland for the Adidas International in Sydney on the 11th and then the big Australian Open on the 19th. Mark took to the courts at Melbourne Park yesterday for his first real hit of the new season, spending two hours on court and according to onlookers seemed to be very relaxed and playing with great joy and enthusiasm.
Mark’s shoulder injury forced him to pull out of the 2003 Paradorn Super Tour this week in Thailand – nothing serious, the shoulder just needs rest. (Of course his pullout was the first I’d even heard of the tour!). Mark’s been enjoying his holiday in Hawaii though – he cheered on fellow Aussie Jake Paterson to his win at the Rip Curl Cup. On the Davis Cup front, the tie against Sweden will be played on hardcourt.
December 1, 2003: Media wrap up from the final with 91 articles and 15 more photos added. During a celebration today at Federation Square to honor the Davis Cup team, Fitzgerald hailed Mark as a national hero for playing through the pain to seal the victory. On the injury front, it’s a bit of good news as while Mark did tear his right pectoral muscle, an MRI shows it to be a low-grade tear. Doctors recommended three weeks of no tennis which is fine since Mark was planning to head to Australia tomorrow for a Hawaiin surfing holiday anyway.
November 30, 2003pm: First off, a correction to the score for the match against Ferrero; I was in such a hurry I accidentally left out the fourth set! The correct score is: 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 2-6, 6-0. It was an important set to miss obviously as Mark really fought back in that fifth set after Ferrero got on a comeback roll. On top of being a fantastic win for the team, it was also a great psychological win for Mark to come back after leading. Mark spoke after the match about not knowing how he got through the final set, but felt he was just carried along by the crowd. Unfortunately the one downside to the match is that Mark put some serious strain on his right shoulder and will be having an MRI to determine the damage. 29 great photos added (articles will be added tomorrow)
November 30, 2003: Congratulations to the new Davis Cup Champions! Mark brought the Cup home with 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 defeat of Ferrero in 3 and a half hours! Way to go Mark!!