A fan for better or for worse?
Considering the fact this forum is pretty much dead, i will post my recent thoughts from my website. These emotions were obviously sparked from yesterdays disappointing loss to Sam warburg (ranked 230) at the swanston challenger... if anyone agree's/disagrees or wants to share any feelings about mark feel free.
A fan for better or for worse?
12 OCTOBER 2006
I will use today's post as a vent for some built up frustrations and emotions. I do love Mark. I think that's obvious... I fell in love with his raw power game in 1996 when he was 19yr's old and beat the world's best player Pete Sampras. I will never forget that night. I was 12 yrs old, eating dinner in the lounge room with friends and we had the tennis on. I was instantly hooked; I was a tennis junior but never really watched it on TV. But I just remember not being able to move from my seat. My friends would try and tell me to come play outside but I wouldn't. Eventually the lounge room filled up with adults as Mark was on the verge of causing the biggest upset of the Australian Open. We all cheered and screamed after match point and from then on I have been a loyal and occasionally bias Philippoussis supporter.
Of course as I got a little older I quickly realised Mark was the most handsome of male players, which only enhanced my interest. I also love Mark's personality. I loved the fact growing up he was a bit of a rebel. The "bad boy" of Australian Tennis. There was always something fake about "Saint" Patrick Rafter. I liked the fact Mark did what he pleased, played the game how he wanted and lived his young adult life to the fullest. Then all of a sudden the injuries start to play a huge part in Mark's career. I refer to 2000, 2001 and 2002 as the "lost years"... Mark was playing so irregular due to his knee; he never really had a chance to play at his best. But it all didn't matter because 2003 was magical. Watching Mark battle his way to the Wimbledon final was inspirational and very touching. For Mark to comeback after all he's been through was one of the proudest moments for his fans. But the most amazing moment I think in Mark's career was his victory in the Davis Cup final. I was once again in my lounge room, glued to the TV, jumping up and down crying when Mark won.
But sadly since then there haven’t been any magical moments. 2004, 2005, and 2006 have flown by and been full of niggling injuries, personal dramas, questionable commitment, and poor performances. Sadly Mark has not lived up to his promise in 2003 when he said "this is just the beginning"... it's almost turned out to be the beginning of the end. Mark is now battling to finish inside the top 100. If he doesn’t it will be the third consecutive year he's finished outside it. This is the point where I am starting to wonder why I still care so much. I would be completely fine if Mark retired tomorrow. If he felt he no longer had it in him to compete with the best, or his body can't cope with the grind - fair enough. But right now that doesn't seem to be in Mark's thoughts. For 3 years Mark has been saying the same old speech and making the same promise to his supporters. "My best tennis is ahead of me." "I have got 5...4...3.. good years ahead of me" "I feel I have the body of a young 20 yr old because I haven’t played my whole career".. I'm over it. I'm sick of the talk. As the saying goes "talk is cheap"... Mark needs to wake up. Maybe he will see flashing red lights when he blows out 30 birthday candles next month? I do hope so, because it hurts as a fan to see Mark struggle like this.
I know I will always have a special interest in Mark, but I long for the days when watching him play was magical... lately it's been nothing but very painful. I haven't got a clue what the future holds for Mark, but I do hope if Mark is really serious about his tennis next year - he actually proves it!
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Last edited by flip_fan; 10-12-2006 at 06:58 AM.