It’s been several months since Mark’s name has appeared in the news, but he was back in the papers today, this time for a surfing accident. He was surfing at Bells Beach in what were rather nasty conditions and got swamped by a wave that broke his board in half. He was swept into a sea cave where he managed to take some shelter and spent almost two hours being battered by waves before seas calmed enough to make his escape. Thankfully his injuries appear to be minor – foot scrapes and a banged hip. He’s currently at his mum’s house in Williamstown recovering. Longtime fans will find some irony in the words of his agent Rob Aivatoglou that Mark is training for a return to the sport and was surfing as part of his rehab. Looking for the positive, it is the first time a return to tennis has been mentioned in months.
Mark is staying active during his recovery and will be taking part in the Celebrity Racing Challenge at the 2008 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix on March 16th at Albert Park in Melbourne. He will be driving a racing version of the Fiat 500 which at 193cm Mark just fits into.
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.
Now you can test your skills on the court against Philippoussis at the Aussie Open. Nintendo has a stand at the tournament where fans can try their skills at Wii Tennis. Those who hold court long enough are daily champions and the player with the highest ranking will get to take on Mark on January 27th to win two tickets to the Men’s Final. Mark will also be at the Nintendo booth on January 15th at 11am signing autographs. It is also likely that Mark will be doing some announcing again for Aussie tv during the tournament. Rumors are also afloat that Mark may be a contestant on season three of Australia’s Dancing with the Stars. It’s still speculation but a reporter apparently asked him if he would be interested and he said yes. The show has featured tennis players before including Todd Woodbridge. Lastly, though no surgery date has been announced, it is reported that Sydney surgeon Merv Cross and his Miami colleague Harlan Selsenick were to be involved in Philippoussis’s latest surgery.
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.”
Another day of mixed messages for Mark fans. First the good news, Mark made it through the to the quarterfinals and is still in the mix for the wildcard. The bad news is how he made it – the luck of mathematics. Mark was supposed to play his third round robin match today that was strictly practice because of Jones withdrawal, but he withdrew from the match because of swelling in the lateral meniscus in his right knee. The math comes in because to determine what two players advanced from Group A meant divided the number of games won by games played. It came down to Groth at .622, Mark at .615 and Klein .600, thus both Mark and Groth advanced. While the math is not the greatest way to advance, the really bad part is the knee swelling. Two matches and the knee causes problems? One can only hope that more play will help and not hurt.