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At a young age, Mark Philippoussis demonstrated great potential with many believing he would reach No.1 and win a handful of Grand Slams. His 6ft 5 frame intimidated many opponents, with his serve earning him the nickname “the Scud.”
Early in his professional career, he excelled on the grass-courts of Wimbledon, reaching a trio of quarter-finals from 1998-00. The right-hander also reached the US Open final in 1997 where he lost to compatriot, Patrick Rafter. His next major success wasn’t until 2003, where he reached the Wimbledon final. There, he became Roger Federer’s first major final victim.
Unfortunately, not everything went to plan for the former No.8. Like Bernard Tomic, he always seemed to generate more headlines off-court than on-court. A list of his major controversies are listed below.
1997: Nick Philippoussis abuses Davis Cup coach Tony Roche after the 1997 US Open final, for sitting in Rafter’s support box.
2000: Rafter accuses Philippoussis of ‘jerking’ the team around after withdrawing from a Davis Cup tie.
2004: Pat Cash questions Philippoussis’ commitment to the game after a 4th round loss at the Australian Open. Cash in return, receives a “string of foul-mouthed insults” from the Australian, who threatens physical violence.
2004: Newspapers alleged that while in a relationship with Delta Goodrem, he dated American socialite Paris Hilton.
2009: Declares bankruptcy, faces a $1.3 million legal battle, a financial situation that could of cost him his home.
As of December 2012, he is still active on the Champions Tour, with any hope of returning on the ATP World Tour done and dusted. As Pat Rafter said, Mark Philippoussis was someone “who burned a lot of bridges in his career, and made a lot of poor decisions.” Even though he suffered from injury problems, that shouldn’t of stopped him from achieving his absolute best. He probably wouldn’t of been No.1 but a few Grand Slams was achievable. The 36 year-old was highly talented, even more so than Rafter, but decided that he wanted to live the high life. His talent was and still is with the women and his successful TV series Age of Love is proof of that.