June 26, 2002
THE MODERATOR: You served very well today. Was that the feature of the game?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I served well at stages of the game. It was very up-and-down. Thomas didn't serve well today and he did a lot of double-faults. I think his double-faults made me nervous, but that game - 4-2, I think it was - in the second, I was down 15-40; I came back. That gave me some routine. From there on, I felt, you know, pretty comfortable on the serve. Felt like I got some rhythm back, yeah.
Q. The double-faults obviously is something troubling you a little bit. Do you think it was only because he started it off?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I definitely am double-faulting too much. It did make me a little nervous. But, yeah, I mean, like I said, I'm double-faulting too much. I was trying to push it a little bit. I mean, he was returning well and he put a bit of pressure on me. I tried to step it up a little. You know, with a bit of credit to him, too, though, with his returns.
Q. 5-1 up in the first set, was that another lapse of concentration?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'm thinking I can't really say I did that much wrong. One double-fault in 30-40, he, you know, he came up with some great returns. I mean, pretty much any -- if I gave him a look on that second serve, he would just pass me. And obviously I need to get my first serve in, and take away pressure from myself, you know, so I don't have to hit those second serves on the big points. You know, they're the things I got to work on.
Q. What pleased you most about your game today?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: The thing that I was happy about is like my first match, as the match went on, I got better. I felt like I returned good, I made him play on his serve, my return's game a little better as each match goes by. And, yeah, that's what I'm happy with. You know, I got a little bit upset but it's just more to pump myself up. So, you know, I'm sort of happy the way I concentrated today, even after losing those two breaks in the first. It's always good to win a set, you know, like that.
Q. How do you feel about playing Kiefer?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, obviously he hasn't been playing some great tennis this year, but he must be playing some good tennis now and he's going to be dangerous. But as I was saying before, it doesn't really worry me who I play as long as I go out there. I adapt my game a little to the way he's going to play, but just worry about myself.
Q. Are you happy with the progress you've made so far coming into the tournament? Is this where you'd like to be at?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, yeah. I'm happy with the way things are going, definitely.
Q. Are you still fit?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I feel good. I feel good out there, yeah.
Q. Could you tell us about the rosary beads. Noticed them lately. Are you more religious now than you used to be?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, no, I've always been religious. I'm Catholic, I've always been religious. I got them in Rome, a church there. So, yeah, from a priest in Rome.
Q. Do you feel like they're helping you? Is there any significance for you wearing them on the court?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Like I said, I'm religious, but not to the point where I'm going to say, "Help me win this match," it's never like that. Like I said, I'm thankful for my family being healthy and myself and that's all I pray for, nothing else. So, yeah, that's it.
Q. Must be a source of strength to you, though, the tough times that you've been through must help you keep everything in perspective I would have thought?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Of course. I mean, you know, people in my family have always fought. My dad, when he had cancer, he fought against it, fought against the odds and beat it. And, you know, things like that are so inspiring. It makes me stronger. Like I said, I think stories and life is a lot more beautiful when you have to struggle and fight for something, you know. It's always a little sweeter at the end when, you know, when you get what you want.
Q. You used to be good friends with Tommy Haas. Are you still in contact with each other?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. Yeah, I did call him. I called him, sent him an E-mail wishing him the best. It's tough to understand how he's feeling. I mean, I can understand a little bit when my father was sick. But, gosh, it's such a tragic thing. And I wish him nothing but the best, you know. I really hope, you know, he stays strong, you know.
Q. Have you talked to him?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: He's not talking to anyone. But he sent me an E-mail thanking me for the message and I sent flowers. We spoke a little on the Internet.
Q. You got the wildcard. Other people in the draw are going, "Oh, no, not him." What sort of message are you sending out today, the fact that you've taken care of a top guy like Thomas?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's so early to be too confident. I'm not going to be overconfident. Today was a tough match. I went out there and did what I had to do to get through it. Now I'm thinking about the next match, and that's all there is to it. Like I said, I'm not the kind of person that's going to sit there and, "Watch me, I'm coming through, I'm playing great tennis." I'm going to go out there and try and play great tennis and just, you know, sneak my way through the draw, you know.
Q. Do you get many messages from back home, from people who know what you've been through and are supporting you more now than they may have done in the past?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: My friends, my family have always supported me no matter what I've been doing.
Q. The public and people, do you get messages from home?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, from -- they have the "Scud Zone," a lot of my fans send me letters and gifts at home. It's just so positive. It's just great. I want them to realize how much that helps and how much that means to me. It's very, very positive and that's something that gets me through things like that, too.
Q. Is Scud Zone a website?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah.
Q. How are you physically? How is your knee? I see a bandage on your left foot.
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, I twisted my ankle in Queen's.
Q. Is there any sort of danger? Do you feel sometimes your body -- are there signals that it hurts sometimes?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. The only danger is if my first serve (starts/stops?) going in... I feel good.
Q. How did you feel the court was playing? Jonas Bjorkman said yesterday he thought the courts were slower?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Court 1 was?
Q. He said Centre Court. He said there had been an effort to slow them down.
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I think -- I've always thought Court 1 is a little bit quicker than the rest. I don't know about Centre Court, but, you know, felt pretty much the same out there.
Q. Are you pleased with the way you've rehabbed your knee?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, after the third one. I rushed the second one. I was on the court ten days later practicing after my second surgery. Came back on the first tournament, theen paid the price after that. The third one took a long time. Even then, when the doctor said, "Okay, you might want to start getting on the court," I still waited a couple months. So I really didn't want to rush it and wanted to do the right thing.
Q. As I understand, you need regular injections in the knee. Have they told you how long you can go on having injections and how long the knee is going to hold for a professional career?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: My knee's going to hold for the rest of my career. I'm fine. It's getting stronger. I take injections, you know, I get synthetic cartilage injected into my knee and that lasts around six months. So the next one will be after the US Open.
Q. Two years ago you told us about your collection of bicycles. What's happened to them? Have you enlarged now?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, no. I just have one left. I sold them.
Q. Why is that?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Just got bored.
Q. What's the new temptation?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Tennis. Tennis and surfing.
Q. I've read that you've really rededicated yourself to tennis and making the most of it. Do you want to talk about that?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's like, as I've been saying, after the third surgery and doctors telling me that, you know, they don't think I'll play at the professional level again. You know, someone says that to you, you're going to work hard and you want to prove them wrong. That's my new start to my career. I moved houses. I, you know, stopped going out like I was going out. And just wanted to mature a lot more than I was in the past, just wanted to commit myself. And, yeah, like I said, I've been given a second chance. I want to do the right thing now.
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