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Philippoussis hoping for an Agassi revival

Philippoussis hoping for an Agassi revival

Forgotten Australian Mark Philippoussis hopes to revive his career at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament - with a little help from retired American star Andre Agassi.
Agassi, who called it quits after the U.S. Open, slumped to 141st in the world rankings in 1997, before claiming the top spot in 1999.
Philippoussis, twice a Grand Slam finalist but now ranked 114th, says he is inspired by the Agassi story, and has received some pointers on and off the court from the American in Las Vegas, where the Australian is training.
"He's helping me when he can... I've had dinner with him a couple of times," said Philippoussis, known as the "Scud" at the height of his career for his powerful serve.
"He's also jumped on the court with us and that's the guy I look up to.
"Being ranked 141st and being about 29, he was in a very similar scenario to me.
"The way he rebounded so strongly and still had the hunger, not to prove anyone wrong, but to do it for himself - it's pretty much the mental route I am taking."
Copycat
In his attempt to emulate Agassi, Philippoussis has even turned to the American's coach, Australian Darren Cahill, and his fitness advisor, Gil Reyes.
Philippoussis, ranked as high as eighth during his career, is still waiting for confirmation he will be given a wildcard into the Australian Open, having elected to skip the qualifying play-off for the first Grand Slam of 2007.
He hopes to use the three singles matches guaranteed by the round-robin format of the Hopman Cup to prove he deserves a spot in the tournament.
He will sharpen his volleying skills by playing doubles with Alicia Molik, herself a former top 10 player who is on the comeback trail.
Philippoussis, who helped Australia win the Hopman Cup in 1999, said he was confident of improved singles results in 2007.
"I've been working extremely hard in Vegas with Gil and Darren," he said.
"If I keep working as hard as this, no doubt it (results) will come."
Philipppoussis and Molik will open the tournament tomorrow, with a Group A clash against the Russian duo of Dmitry Tursunov and Nadia Petrova.
That tie is followed by another Group A match-up pitting the defending champions, the United States, represented by Mardy Fish and Ashley Harkleroad, against France's Tatiana Golovin and Jerome Haehnel.
In group B, India's Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna will attract plenty of interest despite being outsiders, after winning through to the tournament proper with victory in the Asian Hopman Cup.
Mirza, the first Indian woman to win a tour title and reach the top 50, is a huge star in her home country and millions of Indians are sure to watch her matches.
India's first tie is on Sunday, when they play the Czech Republic pairing of Lucie Safarova and Tomas Berdych.


Updated : 2021-05-13 13:35 GMT+08:00