Philippoussis Out After Potential Career-Ending Injury
Struggling 30-year-old Aussie Mark Philippoussis will now miss the Australian Open and possibly much of the 2007 season after tearing knee cartilage at the Hopman Cup team event in Australia Tuesday.
Philippoussis left the event in a wheelchair and will have knee surgery Thursday after tearing the lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee.
“I went out for a wide one and it just buckled, I knew I did something bad straight away…it was a freak thing that happened,” Philippoussis told AAP. “The pain, out of 10 is probably a 15, I have never felt anything like this before.”
According to AAP, “Although it is unknown how long Philippoussis could be sidelined, tournament doctor Hamish Osborne issued the disturbing prognosis of “four weeks or never” for a possible comeback. According to Osborne, the injury to the lateral cartilage, a semicircular ring of tissue which acts as a shock absorber for the knee bones, was a serious one, particularly in a man of Philippoussis’ size.”
Philippoussis vows he will be back to play professional tennis.
“One thing I know is I am going to take care of it and go again, it is the only I can do and it is the only thing I want to do,” Philippoussis said. “In the past at 30 years old you used to think about retiring, but now someone special like Andre [Agassi] has shown if you stay physically strong you can keep going.”
The big Aussie had multiple surgeries on his left knee between 1999 and 2001.
AROUND THE DIAL:
ATP/WTA sponsor Dubai did all right in 2006 apparently according to a press release: “Dubai Duty Free celebrated the New Year by announcing record year-end sales that signal a new retailing milestone for the operation. Sales for 2006 reached US$712 million, representing a remarkable 20% increase over the previous year.”…IMG has bought Tennis Week magazine and TennisWeek.com. According to SportBusiness.com: “IMG plans to launch a fully re-conceptualized first issue of Tennis Week in mid-March, at the Sony Ericsson Open, with a schedule of six glossy, perfect-bound, 100+ page issues in 2007.” As IMG represents a number of tour players, owns tennis tournaments and has fingers in multiple other tennis interests, watch to see how/if Tennis Week makes the transition from independent magazine reporting on the sport to public relations vehicle for IMG interests. Tennisnews.com also reported that Andrea Leand was named Executive Director. Stay tuned to see if IMG cleans house with the Tennis Week staff and inserts their PR team…Maria Sharapova has signed a deal with PepsiCo Inc. to endorse Gatorade and Tropicana. “Not only is Maria Sharapova one of the world’s best athletes, but she exemplifies a healthy lifestyle both on and off the court,” said PepsiCo senior vice president Ron Coughlin. “We know she will be a tremendous ambassador for both Gatorade and Tropicana.”…Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) announced that former ATP player Jack Waite has been appointed to the staff as Director of Development…After lying to the press for months about their relationship, Greg Norman and Chris Evert have apparently decided to give up their cover, getting all touchy-feely at a Sydney restaurant, according to the Daily Mail: “As they tucked into prawns and lobster, she gently touched the shoulder of the man known to golf fans as the Great White Shark. Then they walked through a nearby park hand in hand, happy to be photographed. “If you want to keep a relationship secret, you don’t turn up at Doyles with your lover and sit at a prominent table,” said a fellow diner. “There’s no doubt that Greg and Chris wanted to make a point.”…From The Telegraph on the LTA sacking almost 100 staffers to pay for American coaches Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone: “Brad Gilbert has defended the Lawn Tennis Association’s decision to foot his 700,000 [pound] a year bill for coaching Andy Murray rather than have the player pick up the tab himself. After the news on Friday that the British No 1 had signed a sponsorship deal which could see him earn as much as 80 million [pounds], the LTA’s generosity could come under fire again, not to mention their decision to sack 95 employees to help fund such expense. “You guys pay other coaches,” Gilbert told The Sunday Telegraph. “France pay other coaches, the United States pay their coaches. I mean, when a federation coach works for the USTA he’s paid by the federation, not by the player. All the French coaches who go with them are paid by the federation. Wasn’t the soccer coach here, the Swedish guy…who was he paid by? And paid a lot more!” — So does the LTA keep picking up Murray’s coaching tab now that the teen is reeling in lucrative endorsement deals? Look for the surly teen to be writing his own checks to Gilbert by 2008, or maybe feeling he has outgrown him and suddenly sacking him as he did Mark Petchey…Nothing deflects a brutal beating like saying your opponent will go on to win the tournament — or in this case the Australian Open, after Aussie Nicole Pratt was savaged 6-0, 6-1 at Gold Coast this week by Martina Hingis: “She really is a genuine chance of winning the Australian Open,” said Pratt of Hingis. “I think she has to serve well and that’s going to be the key for her. Sometimes her second serve can get a little short and you can take advantage of that. She’s a competitor and even if she’s down she’ll find a way to win.”
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