Mark enjoyed his time in Rio and even managed to fit in some surfing. He said that Brasil’s beaches are like those in Australia. In an interview with local news he says he got to surf with Kelly Slater (9 time World Champion surfer) at a celebrity event. There were over 4,000 people there and he was more nervous than at the Wimbledon final! More photos both on court and on the beach on the Rio Championships website. Thanks again to Juciane for all the info.
Also this week, Mark has also left his home in the US and mooved back to Williamstown, in the western part of Melbourne. He hopes to start up a tennis academy there with his father, Nick, to ‘give something back’ to the sport. The Hobsons Bay Leader has a nice article with an interview where Mark talks about moving back home.
Mark is currently playing in another seniors event, the Rio Champions Cup in Brazil.
Due to travelling delays, Mark had to play his first two round robin matches on the same day and sadly the Friday the 13th bad luck was with him. First he lost 4-6, 6-3, 9-11 (tie break) to Meligeni and then he lost to Pat Cash 6-7 (3-7), 1-6. In his final match Mark will play Courier. The Rio Champions Cup website has some photos of Mark in action. Thanks to Juciane for the tournament information!
February 13, 2009: Mark is going to be playing in the Grand Cayman Legends Championships to be held April 24-26 in Grand Cayman.
February 8, 2009: Mark was interviewed during a poker tournament during the Australian Open and that interview is now online. Sadly, still no word on what Mark’s next tournament plans are going to be.
January 29, 2009: Mark and Henri played yesterday against Bahrami and Fitzgerald. They retired at 3-4 in the first set, but no reason has been listed as to why. They are scheduled to play Arthurs & Cash next.
January 26, 2009: Mark and Henri moved on in the Legends event defeating Wilander and Nystrom 6-7 (8-6), 6-3, [10-5].
January 25, 2009: Sometimes it’s really nice to be wrong. Today Mark and Henri defeated Woodbridge and Woodforde in a close match 4-6 7-6(4) [10-6]. Tomorrow they play Wilander and Nystrom in the second round.
January 24, 2009: A late update here, but Mark did play in the World Tennis Challenge in adelaide on the 14th. He lost 2-6, 3-6 to Taylor Dent. It wasn’t a great showing by any means, but the positive sign is that his heavily taped knees survived the match. Mark starts his play at the Legends event at the Australian Open tomorrow and he has quite the challenge ahead. He and partner Henri Leconte play the famous Woodies in the first round. Needless to say I don’t expect them to advance, but a nice showing would be good.
It’s been an interesting holiday week for Mark fans and time for a new present – Mark set to return to tennis. Mark held a press conference on December 22nd, early speculation thought he was to announce his retirement, but instead, he announced that he’d be playing in Melbourne next month. Sadly it won’t be in the Australian Open itself, but rather the Legends tournament held afterwards. He’ll be teaming up with French tennis great Henri Leconte for doubles. After that he hopes to play on the challenger circuit and eventually be ready for the main tour and Davis Cup. In a rare moment of honesty, he admitted to wanting an Australian Open wildcard but didn’t apply for it because he knew it would be a waste of the slot a she’d likely be out in the first round. Mark has not played on the main ATP circuit for two years and is currently battling back from his fifth knee surgery. While reporters didn’t see him play, he says he’s still working his way back, physically Mark appears to be much lighter than in the past (a boon to his knees I’m sure). What’s unclear is Mark’s participation in the World Tennis Challenge the week prior to the Australian Open. He’s scheduled to compete with Pat Cash at the exhibition tournament. However some articles indicate he’s pulled out due to the knee not being ready while others indicate he’s still playing.
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.