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March 25, 2003

Mark Philippoussis



Q. How much is disappointment and how much is satisfaction that you were able to play at that level?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's disappointing. I definitely had my chance out there, a couple points at 2-all, just didn't make him play. You know, I played some solid tennis in the first set and just made him play and, you know, he came up with some unforced errors. I got myself out of trouble with some serves. I think in the second, I just let it get away from me. I got a little frustrated. It is disappointing, but there are some positive things I can take away, you know, from this week.

Q. He felt the edge came off of your game in the third set. Do you think that's a pretty fair assessment?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, I mean, that, you know, it was 1-all. Played that long rally where, you know, I hit a forehand winner, things going my way. All of a sudden, game point, and I think I missed a forehand to be deuce. Long rally. I just dumped a backhand slice right into the net. Then I double-faulted. That's extremely disappointing when you fight for a game, come back and save some breakpoints. To go with a double-fault, it was pretty disappointing. But I definitely, you know, again, I just let that third set get away from me with some unforced errors that weren't there in the first set.

Q. Did you sense he wasn't going for his shots like he usually does, possibly favoring his shoulder?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't think so. I think it was just, you know, just trying to play consistent tennis and move me around. You know, if he had a short ball, he was going for it. But, you know, I think last time I played him, he did the same thing. He just didn't really -- you know, just did what he had to do from the baseline. So I don't think it was anything to do with his shoulder; I'm not sure.

Q. What positives can you take out of this week? I know you're disappointed now.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, I played three good matches before this. I mean, this wasn't a bad match, obviously. There were some things I need to go out and work on, you know. I think just my game, I think, maybe has picked up a little. I feel like I've matured a little more. Every tournament I play, I'm getting a little stronger, I'm moving better around the court. You know, it's so tough to say, you know, making him play, because I felt like I'm disappointed after this match and so it's tough for me to say I'm making him play more. I'm not going for that big second serve always and working for the points, because after you come off a match like that towards the end... But, again, there definitely are some positive things to take away.

Q. Do you think he won this match more because his mental toughness was tougher than maybe your mental state?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'm definitely getting mentally tougher, there's no doubt about that. But there's also no doubt that he's, at the moment, you know, more mentally tough than me, obviously. You know, just, I mean, he's still on a high from the start of the year, although he's had some trouble with his shoulder the last couple weeks, I think he's playing some great tennis. You know, God... Just I didn't want that getting away from me. Like I said yesterday, I wanted to make him play, make him earn it. I just felt like I sort of went back and just gave it away again, you know. That's why I'm, you know -- it's frustrating. That's what I didn't want to do. But, you know, I've got to go away and definitely learn from that.

Q. You've got Davis Cup coming up. Having had these three solid tournaments, Scottsdale, Indian Wells, here, do you feel now you're in a position, by the time it comes to the grass court season, to challenge?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Oh, yeah. But it's too far ahead to think about a grass court season right now, before Davis Cup. That's the next thing on my mind. I want to go back to San Diego for a couple of days, do some training there, do some fitness training, then get to Sweden with the guys and start training to get ready for it. You know, that's where my mind is at the moment.

Q. When will you go to Sweden?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I think, like, Monday, start of the week, something like that.

Q. What is next in your season after Davis Cup? Play the whole clay season?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, mostly. I've got, like, three tournaments, and then the French, then Queens, Wimbledon.

Q. Masters Series in Monte-Carlo?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'm not playing Monte-Carlo. So I'm going to have two weeks off and then go to the clay court season.

Q. You're enjoying it, though? On court, you seem as though you're enjoying it, you seem as though you believe in yourself?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Definitely. I think that's the biggest thing. Like I was saying before, you go through a stage where you're injured for a while and you start coming back, playing some good tennis, you get injured again. It's such a roller coaster ride. It's not only -- does it get physically draining, it gets mentally draining more than anything. Then, you know, you start losing matches and you start just playing the game that you didn't play before and you feel like your weapons aren't there. Then you start doubting yourself. That's the worst thing that can happen. As I said before, I've never, ever been the type of guy to doubt myself and my ability. But now, you know, I'm getting physically fitter every match. There's no doubt in my mind, I'm going out there and playing my game and being positive, you know.

End of FastScripts….

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