Mark Philippoussis is out of contention for the Australian Open and could possibly be out of tennis altogether.
Philippoussis has been told he requires surgery on a knee injury suffered during the Hopman Cup tie last night. After arriving at a Perth hospital in a wheelchair this morning, an MRI scan revealed Philippoussis has torn the lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee.
The injury to the cartilage, a semicircular ring of cartilage which acts as a shock absorber for the knee bones, requires surgery and rules him out of a potential wildcard entry into the first grand slam of 2007, beginning at Melbourne Park next week.
It will also place even more scrutiny on the viability of Philippoussis's playing future, following three previous knee surgeries as well as other physical problems that have blighted the mercurial Melburnian.
The 30-year-old was left distraught after injuring his right knee in the fourth game of his match against Frenchman Jerome Haehnel.Despite attempting to play on after lengthy treatment, Philippoussis lasted just two more games before hobbling off.
It is the third time Philippoussis has withdrawn from the mixed team event after tearing an adductor muscle in 2005 and withdrawing in 2000 because of shin splints. New South Welshman Nathan Healey has been drafted in as his replacement in the Australian team, and will fly in tomorrow to play in the tie against America.