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November 2, 2000

Mark Philippoussis


MODERATOR: Questions for Mark, who had to withdraw with a blocked neck today.

Q. How did it happen?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I just woke up - went to bed, woke up with a stiff neck. Actually happens to me not very often, but it does happen to me. I have had a history of it. I have an awkward way of sleeping. I sleep on my stomach. You know, I guess the pillow is really soft here at the hotel. It just happens. I woke up with a stiff neck. I came here in the morning at 10:30. I saw the doctor. I put two anesthetics in my backside, down low, for my back, then I put three in my neck. Felt a lot better. Groundstrokes weren't too bad, but as soon as I went to serve, I can't lift my head. As soon as I go to lift my head to serve, if the serve goes in, I try to hit a groundstroke, everything locks up. No chance.

Q. The same thing has happened in the past to you?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It has happened. It's happened in the past before. I was lucky enough that it happened once that I had a night match, and I had it mobilized, it got better, loosened up towards the end so I was able to play. Being second match, I had no chance. You know, last time it happened was at the Colonial Classic this year. I woke up in the morning to play Andre in the final, it happened. What pisses me off, you have people that don't believe you, that think that I just didn't want to play because I wanted to get ready for the Australian Open, which is extremely frustrating. I just hope now that these people who made these comments can realize that it happens. I've never, ever pulled out of a match intentionally. I've played lots of times with pain. But this, I can't do anything out there. These things happen. They should know that. I hope now they can just think about what they're saying before they say it.

Q. What can you do?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I just have to mobilize it. I'm going to come back this afternoon, mobilize it, get a massage, get it warmed up. I'm sure tomorrow it will be a little better, but I'll just keep doing the same.

Q. Do you think you'll be out of the circuit for a couple weeks?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, no, no. I've had it before. Like I said, I'm sure it will be a little better by tonight, you know, a little more than 50% by tomorrow. It will get better and better, especially with treatment. I've just got to go out today and buy these pillows which help sort of give you that perfect thing for the spine. Like I said, I have an awkward way of sleeping. It's happened a lot. It is very frustrating.

Q. On a slightly different tack, what is the latest as far as you started to work with Peter McNamara? He hasn't come here, has he, this week?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. He's in Singapore playing an over-35's. He'll be with me in Lyon and Paris.

Q. So it has actually started?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yes. It started actually in Hong Kong, Japan, went back to Miami, then this week, he's only missing this week.

Q. When he's away, you contact him by telephone?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yes. I called him the other day. He sends me faxes. We keep in close contact. I think the relationship will be great. I've known him since I was 12 years old, which is important. He knows me as a person. He's known me for a while. I think that's important. You know, he's very relaxing on the court. We have a lot of fun on the court. He knows the way I train. Everyone trains differently, everyone trains more than others or less than others, everyone needs different things than others. He knows exactly what I need. At the moment it's been working great. I'm excited.

Q. He's been through everything himself, including injuries, hasn't he?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Exactly. So he knows what it's all about. I think the biggest thing is he was up there, he's one of the best tennis players in the world, he was Top 10. I think he got to 7 in singles before he got injured, one of the best in doubles with McNamee. He knows how I feel on the court, he knows the pressure situations. Great thing is, he still hits the ball well, hits it great. It's good to get out there on the court with him.

Q. Patrick Rafter said he wished you were going to be part of the team for the Davis Cup final, wants to put any differences that you guys may have in the past behind you. Is there any way, in light of his comments, that you would perhaps reconsider playing on the team for the Davis Cup final?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Myself and Pat, we've put everything behind us. We're talking really well. I mean, it's like nothing ever happened, you know. We're going to practice once, but I couldn't because my luggage didn't get in. We joke all the time in the locker room. We're always talking like nothing's happened. But for the case of playing the Davis Cup final, I won't be there, no.

Q. I guess next year is obviously a fresh year. Are you likely to reconsider your Davis Cup plans for next year?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: There's plenty of time. I'll sit down and think about that.

Q. Has Fitzy or Wally approached you about it yet?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Fitzy has, yes. Actually, he's talked to my dad. My dad said, "I've got nothing to do with that. You speak with Mark. I don't want to say anything, have nothing to do with it. It's best to speak with Mark."

Q. Are you planning to have a special training with McNamara in the off-season?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Because he lives in London?

Q. Yes.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: The thing is, why I feel like it's going to be good, when we're at the tournaments, we will be training hard and everything, but when we have our weeks off, he goes back to London, I go back to Miami. I think it's good to not see each other. He's with his family, it's sort of fresh, I'm with my family and friends, I'm training there, I know exactly what I'm doing. He speaks to me on the telephone, tells me what I'm training on, "Do this on the court, do that, work on this on the court, keep up your fitness," then we meet up for the tournaments. I think that's great. I think if you're together too much, you know, I don't think it's that good. I think it will work out well like that. We're together, he goes off, we see each other after a couple weeks, we're fresh, you know, he's fresh, I'm fresh, we're ready to start again.

Q. Where are you planning to start your new year? What are the first two or three tournaments you'll play?


Q. Then? Anything between then and The Open?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, just Hopman Cup, warm-up for the Australian.

End of FastScripts….

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