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April 22, 1999

Mark Philippoussis


ATP: Questions, please.

Q. Can you clear what happened when you hit that ball out? Were you celebrating? Was it a miss-hit, people shouting at you or what?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: There was no difference between what I did and when you win a match, hitting into the stands. It was out of sort of frustration, but happy that I broke him and I was back into the match. I definitely did not deserve, because obviously I deserved to get the violation for breaking the racquet, that was my first ever point penalty. But the thing that really upset me was Grosjean asked for me to get a point penalty given to me, which is bad sportsmanship. It was terrible on his part.

Q. You had a long conversation with Rudi obviously when it happened; then again after the match. What were you saying to him, that sort of thing?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I was just trying to explain to him what I just told you about the same thing after a match. It was done just sort of getting back into the match. I was frustrated in a happy way to spear myself on, to sort of get my adrenaline going, show some anger but to pump myself up sort of thing. That's why I don't think I deserved to get it.

Q. What response did you get from him?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: He pretty much said he had to give it to me, you know, because he complained, which is ridiculous. Worry about himself, complain about a line call. You don't ask an umpire, force an umpire to give him a code violation. I've never, ever heard of that. I mean, that's not right.

Q. Did you make your feelings known to Grosjean out there about what he'd done?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, not at all. I was worried about myself. All I was worried about was just to keep calm, not say another word. It was one thing away of getting defaulted. You know, I rarely show my emotions out there. I rarely get code violations. For me to get a point penalty, I was very upset at that. I was just keeping calm, worrying about what I had to do.

Q. Did you speak to him afterwards?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Not at all. Like I said, you asked me what I thought about that at the moment, and I've told you. But not at all.

Q. The fact that you were probably burning inside but were able to control yourself and get through it must be fairly reassuring, isn't it?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Definitely. You know, like I said, the racquet thing was unfortunate. To be quite honest, I had to do something. I was just going crazy inside. I just had to let off some steam. I think it was good for me. It was unfortunate that that happened. You know, I got things out of me, but I stayed calm in the situation, got through that tiebreaker, then built my confidence up. Sort of his head dropped. I didn't think he was the same player in the third.

Q. Some Spanish players said that these conditions are very different from the ones you had in Barcelona. I don't know if it's clay court, the clay is different, or the balls. Do you find the kind of difference? You lost to Furlan in Barcelona.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: That was my first clay court match, it's always tough. I learned a lot from that match. I worked on different things preparing for this tournament. The clay here is a lot finer, a little bit quicker, the conditions. I think it's a nice clay court.

Q. Which is good for you?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's good for me. Sometimes it can get heavy. When the sun's out like this, it gets quicker. I do like it when it's like this.

Q. How much is it a matter of confidence for someone like you who has a very big serve-and-volley game, you have to play well on clay, you get someone like Greg Rusedski who more or less is throwing up his hands saying, "I just can't play on this stuff"? Is it possible for anybody if they have the real belief and if they work hard enough?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Of course. I've worked on my game ever since I was young, sort of growing up, worrying about Juniors, worrying about the Tour, developing my game all around. I feel confident on the clay. I've won a clay court tournament. Obviously it helps when you get the first serve in. But, you know, I feel like I can stay back and rally. Obviously you don't want to rally all day with these guys. That's what they love. I mix it up; come in, but I do feel comfortable on the baseline if I do that.

Q. When you were a junior, did you play much on the ant-hill-type stuff? Did you have to groove yourself?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: In Melbourne we have en tout cas. It's not fine, like little rocks. It's red, not as fine, very similar to the green clay in America. You know, I played a lot on that. I mainly worked on my groundstrokes a lot. Obviously, I think it has a lot to do with fitness at the moment. I've worked extremely hard on my fitness. I'm feeling great out there. I feel I can rally.

Q. What did you think of the decision to move the Davis Cup match to the United States? John Newcombe was quoted today saying he was very unhappy, that the players weren't happy. What do you think of that?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Obviously we're unhappy because last time we played America, we played them in America. Now we feel like we deserve to play them at home. That's what we're arguing.

Q. Is a boycott possible?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't know. I just pretty much saw a fax today about that. I don't know. I'm not very much aware of what's happening at the moment.

Q. Now you get a chance to test your clay court game against a guy who has won here and in Rome. Do you relish that sort of challenge, to take on a top clay courter on clay?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. I mean, obviously I have a lot of respect for him, on any surface. You know, he's a top player. Obviously, I'm sure, you know, clay is his favorite surface. But, you know, me, I don't really think about that once I'm on the court. I'm there to give it all, you know, and hopefully play as long as I can, do whatever it takes to win that last point. I've matured. I'm just matured a lot in that area, no matter what it takes. Just playing some ugly tennis, just to win. It's going to be a tough match. He's playing extremely well. You know, anything can happen. Like I said, I love those matches.

Q. Apart from the incident, what do you think of Grosjean in terms of tennis?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, he's obviously a very talented player, did extremely well at the Lipton, hits the ball well. He's a talented player.

Q. And with his service for the first set, you had difficulty to return the service?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's always tough when you play someone for the first time. You're not sure, everyone's ball toss is different. You just sort of wait and see if their toss changes, wide serve or down the middle. It's just sort of tough getting used to the way he played.

Q. Getting back to the Davis Cup thing, you now are a resident in the States. Does the venue make as much difference to you as it might for somebody that would live full-time in Australia? Also the fact that you and Patrick made the US Open final last year, and you won Indian Wells, could they almost be playing into your hands?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's not that. It's just that it's such -- you know, it's such a positive thing playing at home. You know, you've got the whole crowd. We can play at the Melbourne Park Australian Open, how much, 8,000, 14,000. We're going to play a thing in Boston where it could be 5,000 at the most. What we're arguing is, if they wanted an historic moment, why didn't they do it for the first round when it was absolutely perfect when America played England for the first time? That's the first Davis Cup match. Why didn't they do it at this time because it would have been perfect.

Q. I don't know about that (British journalist).

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: That's what I'm saying. You don't like it. If they want to make it historic, I mean, nothing better than playing England, exactly what happened a hundred years ago, I don't know when it was.

Q. The reason actually was about the date. It was a summer date they wanted.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: We'd like a summer date at home (laughter).

Q. Did you speak to Mark Woodforde at all when you were here? Has there been much liaison among the Australian players?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. We sort of have the same feelings. We just left it in the hands of John, Jeff Pollard, Australian president.

Q. Would you have played on grass if you could choose the surface in Australia or not?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I think we're looking to play at the tennis center, on Rebound Ace.

Q. With the roof open?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Depends on the match, how it's going.

End of FastScripts....

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