Long time, no posting but for a while Mark has been so unpredictable it's been frustrating to follow and support.
For the first time in YEARS I feel Mark is back on the right path. Where it leads in 2010 is anyone's guess, but I personally think it'll be a more positive and productive year for Mark.
He's expected to play Dallas starting February 1 -6. Below is a recent interview that gives a little insight to what he's been up to over the past few months. Everyone knows about his financial situation, his knee injuries and struggles with depression. I think a large part of his positive recovery over the past 6 month is to do with his fiancee Jennifer Esposito. Mark now seems to have more motivation and purpose to his life and he's looking so much fitter and healthier then he has in years. Jennifer is only a couple years older, but stunning, mature, and not in to the flashy celebrity lifestyle most of his past girlfriends have been drawn to. They rumoured to be getting married this year so that's a pretty big occasion for Mark.
Anyway Dallas will start shorty, will try to update here and my website as much as possible.
Location: Dallas, Texas
Surface: Indoor Hard
Starting Date: February 1
2009 Champion: Ryan Sweeting [USA].
Tournament websites: http://www.tbarmtennis.com
How are you feeling?
To be honest, Iíve been training pretty hard the last five or six months, working to get my body back into shape. Not just for tennis, but for everyday living. Iíve started to get a lot stronger; lost some weight.
This is the best Iíve felt in probably three years. Iíve come a long way. I couldnít really do anything coming off of my last knee surgery other than rehab. But Iíve been training in San Diego, working on the strengthening of the knee and the rest of my body. I have a long way to go, but Iím feeling pretty good.
Each time youíve hurt your knee and came back, have you been able to play at 100 percent and not even think about the knee during a match, or is it always in the back of your mind?
After the first injury with my left knee, I worked hard on my strengthening and had a great year in 2003. I never thought about it at all; I just went out and played. But after I hurt my right knee in January, 2007, up until I had surgery, it never was the same. After the surgery, though, I feel itís fixed everything. Thereís been a lot of hard work to get the chance to get back out there and hit balls; working on strengthening six days a week and getting on the court five days a week.
I have to work as hard I can to get whatever I can out of my body. But sometimes the body says, Ďyou know what, dude? Iím doneí and it wonít give you anything more Ė no matter how badly you want it. Hopefully that wonít happen anytime soon.
At this stage of your career, whatís your ultimate goal? Is it realistic to think you could one day get back to the Top 10 and be a force in Grand Slam events, or are you aiming a lot lower?
Iím not thinking anything like that; Iím just trying to keep working to get, again, not just my legs, but my whole body strong. Iím feeling the best I have felt for a long time. Itíll be important to see where Iím at during the event in Dallas, to see how my body holds up.
This will be my first Tour event in more than three years; itíll be different, but itíll be exciting. I just have to see how my body feels and take it from there. Iím on the right path to give it another go Ė I feel very strongly about that.
What makes you feel more proud; getting into the Top 10 and appearing in two major finals, or helping Australia win two Davis Cups?
I feel like incredibly fortunate to have accomplished all of that. The matches that helped win it for Australia were huge for me, but also being able to play at a high level after being in a wheelchair and thinking my career was over was huge as well. That was a proud moment.
Where do you spend most of your time these days?
San Diego for the most part, but I also spend a lot of time in New York with my fiancťe.
Does it get kind of old bouncing back and forth across the country, or do you just get used to it?
Being on a plane five hours is nothing like going to Europe or Australia, so itís no big deal.
Iíve got to ask you the obligatory questions about the reality show. Did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
I wouldnít do something like that again; definitely not. I didnít have as much fun as you would maybe imagine. It was very awkward, to be honest. It was an experience; Iíll put it that way.
Whatís the most nervous youíve ever been?
The morning of both the Davis Cup finals I remember not being able to eat breakfast. I could hardly function, I was so nervous. I was actually quite relaxed before the Grand Slam finals interestingly enough, considering the occasions.
The most nervous Iíve ever been, though, was when I participated in a celebrity surfing event in 2004. There were more than 3,000 people on the beach who were watching, and itís not my main sport.
Speaking of surfing, you had a pretty scary accident in 2008. What happened?
Yeah, I went out surfing one day and got smashed up against some rocks. I thought I was going to die, actually. It was pretty scary.
I rushed into some waves I shouldnít have, about 12 to 15 feet high, plus there were some really strong rip currents and it was high tide. That was a really bad combination. I was smashed up against the rocks in a little cove area and ended up being stranded for three hours. I had to wait until the tide came down to swim out of there. I was cut up some and bruised, but I was OK. I got really lucky.
Nobody knew where I was. A report went around that I was dead; missing at sea.
Fast forward a year from now. In the best-case scenario, where would you be with your game?
Thatís pretty simple. Back on tour, playing the game I fell in love with as a kid.