Ex-champ in RMKC field
By Phil Stukenborg
February 8, 2006
Two-time Memphis champion Mark Philippoussis, a former top 10 player and the 2003 Wimbledon runnerup, was awarded the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships final wild card Tuesday.
RMKC tournament director Phil Chamberlain said Philippoussis, 29, will join previously announced wild-card entrants Mardy Fish and Scoville Jenkins in the 32-player field, which includes Andy Roddick and Tommy Haas, one the ATP Tour's hottest players.
Haas, also a former Memphis champ, is 11-2 this year with a tournament win last week at Delray Beach, Fla., and two losses to Roger Federer, the world's top-ranked player.
Chamberlain also announced Alexandra Stevenson has accepted a wild card into the Cellular South Cup, the women's event held concurrently with the men's tournament. The RMKC and CSC run Feb. 17-26 at The Racquet Club.
Coming off another injury-plagued season, Philippoussis, the hard-serving Australian, finished outside the top 100 for the second straight year. He has won one of three matches this year as he continues his comeback.
"He approached us about wanting to play here, which is good," Chamberlain said. "He has good memories here."
Philippoussis, who won the Memphis event in 1998 and 2001, hasn't played at The Racquet Club since losing a first-round match in 2003 to eventual champion Taylor Dent.
As for Stevenson, she was a finalist in 2003, dropping the championship match in three hard-fought sets to Lisa Raymond.
In addition to the player announcements, Chamberlain said Tracy Austin, a 1992 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, will participate in the Cellular South Cup Charity Challenge Feb. 20. The two-time U.S. Open singles champ will join Anna Kournikova and the Bryan brothers -- Bob and Mike -- in a mixed doubles match to benefit the Katrina Relief Fund, LeBonheur Children's Hospital and St Jude Children's Research Hospital.