No regrets for Mark Philippoussis
He’s widely condemned as a wasted talent, but Mark Philippoussis insists he’s content with what he achieved during his injury-plagued tennis career.
With protective strapping on both knees, Philippoussis is playing veterans doubles at an exhibition event in London this week rather than preparing for a Wimbledon start on Monday.
It is a far cry from the heady days of nine years ago when he was lining up against Roger Federer in the 2003 final at the All England Club.
The now 35-year-old also reached the 1998 US Open final, losing that one too against fellow Australian Pat Rafter, who once claimed a player of Philippoussis’ rich talents should have been world No.1 with a “bagful” of grand slam titles.
He retired with none after peaking at No.8 in the world aged 22 in 1999.
The Victorian did, though, beat a dozen world No.1s during his stop-start career – including Federer, Pete Sampras, Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt – and was the hero for Australia in Davis Cup final triumphs over France in 1999 and Spain in 2003.
“Oh man, I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t regret anything,” Philippoussis told AAP.
“I’ve had a career to be proud of – two Davis Cup wins.
“How often do you get a chance to have one Davis Cup win, let alone two? And both of them were the last match to win it.
“They were very, very special occasions to me. One on home soil in Melbourne, where I was born and raised, and the other away where no one gave us a chance on clay.
“The final of a US Open, Wimbledon … Obviously one match short, I would have loved to win a grand slam; I’ve won Masters Series events.
“But I’m very proud about what I’ve done.”
Federer’s 7-6 6-2 7-6 Wimbledon final win over Philippoussis earned the Swiss superstar the first of his record 16 majors.
Even Philippoussis marvels at what Federer has gone on to achieve since their title match was locked at 5-5 in the first-set tiebreaker.
“Did anyone think he was going to dominate the way he did? No. No one would have thought that way,” he said almost a decade on.
“I don’t know if he would have thought that was going to happen.
“He went on to do some incredible things, amazing things, and he’s definitely one of the best players to play the game – and arguably the best.”© AAP 2013