Philippoussis gets real about his past and the future
Mark has come under heavy criticism from many people about wasting his talent and this week he has opened up on the issue, amoungst many others such as money, cars, parties, his father and his future.
He doesnt make excuses, he just tells it how it is and this is why i like him so much. he's not perfect, and he makes mistakes(many,lol) but he isnt ashamed of who he is and has never pretended to be something he's not. u either like him or loathe him.
i look forward to the future, the right result may not come this year at wimbledon but if he continues to work hard sooner or later the effort will pay off.
Scud says party days over
MARK Philippoussis is the ultimate creature of habit. The regular, often ruthless, sacking of coaches remains a trait which has hardly endeared the Australian to the tennis community.
An obvious fixation with expensive cars and motorbikes is invariably followed by protests he is not obsessed with prestige machinery. This from a man who bought his first Ferrari at 20.
A succession of glamorous partners, often paraded publicly despite complaints he is a private soul, has now given way to engagement with Alexis Barbara, a teenage Miami model, said to be an heiress to a construction fortune.
And, almost on cue, the advent of the English grasscourt span triggers earnest state-of-the-nation addresses on the rollercoaster Philippoussis career. And so it continues - with one significant change. His days of decadence are allegedly over and there have been glimpses of the Victorian's world-class grasscourt prowess.
The dual Davis Cup winner, photographed cavorting in a Nice nightclub with strippers after guiding Australia to a fabulous 1999 victory, declares his partying days are dead.
"I've been there, done it, seen it all in Miami," he said. "I'm engaged to be married, I've sorted myself out in the past year and all I'm going to be doing back in Miami is to train and practise hard on the tennis court and watch DVDs with my fiancee Alexis at home.
"I want to lead a normal life, like anyone else."
The Victorian, who was rumoured to be in financial strife before reaching the 2003 Wimbledon final, says he has punted many of the vehicles which cluttered the garages of his Florida properties.
He has also put away his surfboards in the latest re-dedication to tennis.
"I bought my first Ferrari when I was 20," he said. "Who wouldn't? I bought and did a lot of things. I wasn't mature enough to handle the expectation - and I wasn't ready for the commitment I needed to give to tennis.
"I bought a top of the range Ferrari then, two months later, I sold it. You wanna know why? I was bored. That's when I began to grow concerned about the kind of person I was. I was leading a vacuous existence. It didn't matter how many cars and bikes I had.
"None of it mattered. I realised none of that stuff was important.
"I had everything, but I had nothing. I wasn't happy. That's when I understood why. What made me happy was not just playing tennis, but playing on the big stage. Suddenly I realised how much I had thrown away.
"I feel so unfulfilled. I lived my life the way I've chosen to do so, but now I understand that I haven't put everything into tennis.
"If I were to stop right now, I would have let myself down badly.
"I honestly believe that the best years of my career are just beginning."
The closest the Melburnian has come to conceding his prodigious early success was more a curse than helpful is to acknowledge his appearance in the 1998 US Open final against Rafter was a false dawn.
"I was disappointed, but I assumed there would be more finals and wins down the track," he said. "The plan back then was to win a couple of slams, maybe more, then retire and live off my earnings."
Cash was in Philippoussis' corner then and acted as peacemaker when Nick Philippoussis abused Davis Cup coach Tony Roche after a fraught US Open final for supporting Rafter. Cash had been forced to drag Philippoussis out of a strip club earlier in the tournament.
"I don't have any regrets about those days," he said. "I was young, I enjoyed life, I had a good time and there was nothing to be ashamed of.
"I came from a hard-working family in Melbourne and I've never let my family down.
"I've never drunk - to this day I hate the taste of alcohol - and I've never gone near drugs, even though the stuff is all around you.
"I just had a good time. It cost me success, but I enjoyed myself."
NICK Philippoussis has remained the foundation stone in his son's life during long battles with injury. The memories of Philippoussis senior's struggle with cancer have left a deep scar on his son - both positive and negative.
"It was my father who gave me strength," he said. "His life had been written off but he refused to cave in. When I was at my lowest ebb, he reminded me of this. 'It's down to you', he told me. 'It's your call. If you want it, you can do it.'
"If my father had died, my tennis would be over now. It's as simple as that. I wouldn't have been able to go on. I'd have lost myself completely.
"I was being worn down by all the injuries. Stuck in that wheelchair for three months was very depressing. Breaking the wheelchair arms to hit some balls helped, but it was still a desperate time for me.
"What made it worse was that the pain-killers I was on made me moody.
"I was lashing out at everyone, even people I loved. I must have been difficult company."
Philippoussis says the injury time-outs proved a blessing.
"It was a time spent discovering who I was and what I wanted to do," he said. "I gave myself the best chance to discover what I can achieve.
"I set myself some goals - to become one of the best players in the world again and to win a slam or two.
"If I give myself every chance to do this and fail, I can live with that. But, if I were to stop now, I'd be as disappointed as hell."
"I tell you why my best is to come," he said. "I've never been so hungry in my life for success. I've not wasted my life up to now. Far from it.
"I've enjoyed myself, but it's hampered my tennis.
"All this has changed. I've settled down. I'm calmer and I'm happier.
"There's so much I want to achieve. The best thing is to prove myself on the tennis court.
"But don't tell me I can't do it. They told Lance Armstrong he was going to die. Instead, he won the Tour de France six times.
"His cancer and his fightback made him both the person and athlete he is today. They told Goran he'd never win Wimbledon. They told my father he had six months to live seven years ago.
"And they told me I'd never play tennis again.
"I may be 28, but I've only really discovered the true me in the past six months. And the real me is someone who can achieve what he has set out to do in life. For the first time I really believe that."
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