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Applez
01-26-2006, 07:26 PM
Players destined for greatness but never made it

Mark Philippoussis

Mark Anthony Philippoussis (born November 7, 1976, Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian tennis player of Greek and Italian heritage. He turned professional in 1994 and is currently residing in Florida, USA. Coached by his father, Nick Philippoussis, the powerful right-hander has played tennis since he was six years of age. He was briefly coached by former 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash during his junior years, which ended in an acrimonious split. Philippoussis' style of play is to hit every shot hard, and this accomplished by his amazing natural ability. Many players hit serves hard, but only Mark Philippoussis can hit a groundstroke at the same speed. This is what separates him from other players like Andy Roddick, and he is widely regarded as the hardest hitter in the history of the game, next to Lew Hoad

In 1994, he finished third in single ranking for juniors. Philippoussis also finished as junior doubles champion with Ben Ellwood in Australia, Wimbledon, and Italy. He turned professional in 1994. In 1995, at the age of 19, he was the youngest player in the year-end top 50. In 1996, he reached the 4th round of the Australian Open upsetting Pete Sampras in the 3rd round and in doubles with Pat Rafter, he advanced to semi-finals at Wimbledon and US Open. On May 25, 1997, he recorded a personal best 142.3 mph serve in a game he lost to Albert Costa.

In 1998, he reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open losing to Rafter. On March 29, 1999, he entered the top 10 for the first time and stayed there for 11 weeks. He advanced to the quarter finals at Wimbledon for the second straight year and retired in 2nd set against no. 1 Pete Sampras after having won the first set. He suffered a moderate cartilage tear in his left knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery four days later on July 6. He returned to professional tennis seven weeks later in Indianapolis and lost in his opening match. He did not play again until October 12 in Singapore where he lost in 2nd Round

He finished 1999 in the top 20. 2000 was the fourth consecutive year in which he finished in the top 20. He reached the 4th round at the Australian Open losing to eventual champion Andre Agassi. He defeated Pete Sampras 8-6 in the fifth set at Roland Garros in a 3rd round match but lost in the 4th round. For the third consecutive year, he made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon losing again to Andre Agassi. He appeared in his second Olympics, losing in 3rd Round to eventual gold medalist Yevgeny Kafelnikov. He finished 2002 in the top 100 (7th time in 8 years) despite not winning a title. He moved from Miami to San Diego, California area in September 2002

After three knee operations and a protracted comeback, Philippoussis avowed a new seriousness to his sport. He made himself available regularly for Davis Cup, hired a new physical trainer who instituted a gruelling fitness regime, and took up surfing as his new recreation. It seemed to work, as he made the 2003 Wimbledon final, finally losing to an on-fire Roger Federer 7-6, 6-2, 7-6

A hallmark of Philippoussis' game is his powerful serve, which gave him his nickname "The Scud", and his sturdy groundstrokes. During a 2003 Wimbledon tennis match against Andre Agassi (6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4), he set a new Australian tennis record of 46 aces served in a match, just three aces short of the overall ATP Tour record then held by Richard Krajicek

Philippoussis broke a two year singles title drought by winning the Shanghai Open in 2003. On 30 November 2003 Philippoussis defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain to win the fourth match of the Davis Cup final in Melbourne, thus securing the title for Australia. This victory in front of his home crowd won him a place in the affections of the Australian sporting public which some of his behaviour in earlier years - including refusal to play Davis Cup - had put in jeopardy

The honeymoon with the Australian public however did not last. 2004 proved a disastrous year in terms of his tennis career and public profile. After shouldering most of the blame for losing Australia's David Cup tie with Sweden with an unexpected below par performance, Philippoussis then struggled through to the Wimbledon finals in June 2004. By the close of the year, Philippoussis had failed to win a single ATP tennis match and finished with his lowest ever ranking since turning professional in 1994. In October 2004, a much publicized affair with Australian singer Delta Goodrem had soured and seriously damaged his public standing when newspapers revealed that Paris Hilton had professed her interest for Philippoussis. This only added to his "playboy" image with the public siding with the popular Goodrem. As of June 2005, he is engaged to model Alexis Barbara

AeonT
01-26-2006, 07:35 PM
1. Anna Kournikova: Always the underachiever, but still loaded with cash.

2. Mirjana Lucic: Billed as a future No. 1 when she first arrived on the scene, but has fallen off the radar.

3. Alexandra Stevenson: Whatever happened to her?

Alexandros
01-26-2006, 08:06 PM
Philippoussis is far and away the biggest waste of talent in recent times. Huge serve, powerful groundstrokes, fairly deft touch at the net. Moved quite well for a big man. Rather similar to Safin, on second thought.

AJK1
01-26-2006, 08:15 PM
Tennis shots ability: Top 5
Mental toughness/ability: Top 500

Sadyv
01-26-2006, 08:18 PM
Moved quite well for a big man.

I have to disagree on this. Mark suffered from the same problem Becker had, though to a much worse degree.

Scud could get up a pretty good head of steam and run a ball down, the problem was that by time he stopped, turned around and started moving back in the other direction, his oppponent had already put the ball away and was waiting for the next point to begin.

This was made even worse earlier in his career, because instead of trying to slow things down, maybe throw in a slice or deep loopy top spin shot, he'd simply try and bash the ball as hard as he could, making the chances of him being prepared to play the next ball over the net even more slim.

VGP
01-26-2006, 09:52 PM
I never really got a "greatness" vibe from Phillipousis.

galain
01-26-2006, 10:15 PM
It's God punishing him for treating Delta Goodrem the way he did.

RogerRulez
01-26-2006, 10:56 PM
The Scud was once hailed as the successor to Sampras' throne in the mid 90s!