Scud set for solo comeback
By Peta Hellard in Los Angeles
October 11, 2007
MARK Philippoussis is to make his tennis comeback alone next week without his personal cheerleader.
The Scud's reality TV romance with Tennessee cheerleader Amanda Salinas appears to have hit the rocks and the brunette is unlikely to be courtside when he competes at the Stanford Championships in Texas.
Philippoussis's agent Carlos Fleming has refused to comment for the past two weeks about whether the couple - who met on reality dating show Age of Love this year - were still together.
Mr Fleming, who works for international sports agency IMG World, would say only that Philippoussis was concentrating on tennis.
"Mark is focusing on his preparation," Mr Fleming said.
"His progress is coming along well."
Philippoussis, 30, suffered a knee injury during the Hopman Cup in Perth in January.
He emerged victorious from his first match against Dmitry Tursunov, but retired after he tore cartilage in his knee during a match against Jerome Haehnel.
The injury forced him to miss the Australian Open.
Philippoussis's surgeon Merv Cross had estimated a recovery period of four to six weeks after surgery in January but it has taken 10 months for him finally to make a comeback - after he took time out to film the reality show in which he had to choose between women in their 20s and 40s.
Philippoussis is to launch his comeback at the Stanford Championships in Dallas, where he will face top players aged 30 and over in a field that includes Jim Courier, Todd Martin, Wayne Ferreira and John McEnroe.
His first match is against Swede Mats Wilander on Thursday and he could meet Australian tennis great Pat Cash - a close friend - if both make it through to the finals of the round-robin tournament.
Philippoussis said this week that he was hoping to be back in form for the Australian Open in January.
"What I'd love to do is start playing a couple of small events at the end of the year, get match fit and concentrate on getting back next year - hopefully at the Australian Open."
"The most important thing for me is to take it day by day.
I've missed the game. I love the game.
"I would love to get back out there and enjoy myself."
Philippoussis, based in Las Vegas, said he had been training with Andre Agassi and would have returned to competition sooner but had problems with his back.
"I've been training non-stop since the surgery," he said.