Scud not drawn by Cash lob
By Robert Lusetich
July 28, 2003
THE question sat up like a fluffy lob begging to be smashed, yet Mark Philippoussis resisted the temptation to retaliate against Pat Cash after the former Wimbledon champion dished damaging dirt on his one-time pupil at the All England club earlier this month.
Three weeks ago, Cash revealed that Philippoussis had to be discouraged from spending the night with Anna Kournikova on the eve of a big match, wanted to go to a New York strip club after winning a five-set quarter-final at the US Open, was on the verge of financial disaster and called him "one of the most uncommitted people to rise to prominence in sport".
Yesterday, after a scintillating one-hour practice session with Lleyton Hewitt in Los Angeles, where both will launch their US Open campaigns this week - and re-unite as doubles partners - Philippoussis for the first time addressed Cash's startling revelations.
"If I have something bad to say about someone, I'm going to say it to their face," the revitalised 26-year-old said.
"Obviously, of course, it's disappointing but when a guy writes a book like that and bags a lot of people, I mean, what can you say?"
Asked if he planned to confront his former coach, Philippoussis noted that he had "more important things to worry about".
So he does. Making the final at Wimbledon, where he lost in straight sets to Roger Federer, gave him a glimpse of how different life could be and, judging by the daily intense physical training and court practice, it seems Philippoussis has resolved to at least try to realise his boundless potential.
"Obviously a lot of people would like to achieve things and obviously a lot of people aren't going to do that but the thing with me is I wanted to give myself the chance to achieve those things," Philippoussis said.
"By that I mean, working my arse off, doing everything I can to give myself the opportunity and then the rest is up to me."
He revealed that after the last of his three major knee injuries, a year ago, he "wasn't happy (because) I haven't accomplished anything in my career".
That said, Philippoussis said he had no regrets.
"I'm a 26-year-old guy. Life doesn't come with a manual. I'll make decisions that are going to be wrong, that are going to be right ... the only thing I can do is learn from it," he said.
"Everyone matures in different stages. I mean, being a young guy, single guy, all of a sudden who gets a bit of fame and some money, what are you going to do? Are you going to buy a little townhouse and train your arse off? Or maybe you might buy a big house and nice car and go party?
"It's the normal thing to do and I was living, you know, other guys' dreams that they dream of and you're in a position to live that life. Why not do it? And I got it out of my system and I've realised that they're not the most important things in life."