Arizona, 25 October 2010 | AP/AAP
Mark Philippoussis is in love with tennis again and contemplating a comeback to the professional tour.
The 33-year-old says he’s rekindled his love for tennis.
It may have only taken a win over 40-year-old Jim Courier to capture his second straight Champions Series title but the two-time grand slam runner-up says he’s now inspired enough to return to play on the regular ATP tour.
“I’ve just fallen back in love with the sport on the Champions Series,” he said after a 6-4 6-1 win over Courier in the Cancer Treatment Centres of America Tennis Championships.
“It’s just great and since I’ve gotten that love back, my body has been getting stronger. I feel I can hit the ball just as hard as the guys on the tour, so why not give it a go if I’m having this much fun?”
Philippoussis last played on the ATP Tour in 2006 after being troubled by a succession of knee injuries, having surgery three times on each knee.
He did play a challenger tour match in August in Dallas, losing in straight sets to American Michael Yani.
Regarded as one of the most talented players never to have won a grand slam, the Victorian was known as much for the women he dated and cars he owned as for the tennis career that earned him almost $7 million in prizemoney and a highest ranking of world No.8.
Courier, who has been retired 10 years and now commentates on the game, was a fan of Philippoussis’ play, but suggested the injury-prone right-hander’s body could be his biggest issue if he’s contemplating a serious return to the main tour.
“When Mark plays well and he plays that first-strike tennis, he can play with anybody,” Courier said.
“The question is, can his body hold up to the rigours of the tour on a day-to-day basis? All of us who are in this sport can appreciate the racquet skills he brings to the table.”
Philippoussis said he benefited from recent practise sessions with US star Andy Roddick.
“Roddick came to San Diego, where I live,” said Philippoussis who had come off a final-round victory over John McEnroe in May in Boston on the 30-and-over circuit.
“I hit with him while he was down there.”
In the third-place match, Michael Chang beat John McEnroe 7-6(6) 7-6(6).