Philippoussis comeback dream looks to be a mirage


Melbourne: The long-odds dream of Mark Philippoussis to somehow make one last stand in the professional game looks to be all but gone after the 33-year-old failed to sign on for this week’s Australian Open wild card play-offs.

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The winner in the 16-man event which began Monday will earn a wild card place into the season’s first Grand Slam starting January 17.

But with some of the competitors up to 15 years younger than Philippoussis, it may not be surprising that the subject of six major knee surgeries might have given up on his chances.

But that wasn’t the attitude from the two-time Grand Slam finalist as he played – and lost – in a senior event in London this month.

“I’d would love to play in a Challenger tournament again, maybe a tour event, and maybe another Grand Slam, one more Australian Open, or one more Wimbledon,” he said in London.

“I feel as though I have unfinished business. I would like to go out from this sport on my terms.

“Playing tennis is my job, and I basically haven’t had a job for over three years, so it’s not surprising that I’ve had problems. With the bad economy, life has been tough for a lot of people over the last year, but that’s what I’ve had for the last three years.”

Philippoussis last appeared on the ATP tour at the 2006 US Open when he was beaten in the first round by Rafael Nadal. A year ago in the wild card playoffs, Philippoussis suffered his most recent knee injury.

He once stood as high as eighth in the world. He recently faced financial trouble and was forced to sell his home in a Melbourne suburb.