Philippoussis Makes Newport Return
Appearing in his first ATP World Tour event in nine years, Mark Philippoussis succumbed to American Eric Quigley 7-6(1), 7-6(4) in the first round of qualifying at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
"It was the first time back after nine years and getting the body back into this pace and movement, it was difficult to get rhythm," said the 2006 champion. "I had my opportunities at 4-3, serving with the new balls and again in the tie-break. That's tennis right there."
The former World No. 8, who received a qualifying wild card into the ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Newport, fired 11 aces and converted on two of three break chances. Playing in front of his wife Silvana and son Nicholas, the Aussie's tenacity was on display as he surged to an early break in the third game of the first set, before dropping the opener in a tie-break. He would deny Quigley when the American served for the match at 6-5 in the second, but eventually fell after one hour and 30 minutes.
"I was thinking about it for a little bit," Philippoussis said about the decision to enter the tournament. "I'm glad I did. I wanted to compete out there and push myself. You see the physicality is completely different. That was one thing that showed out there."
The 38 year old's last match win came in the 2006 Newport final (d. Gimelstob), claiming his 11th ATP World Tour crown. He would hang up his racquet a month later.
"It was just about playing one event. There's no talk about a comeback. Down the line if I see something, maybe close to California, I might do that. It's one event and that's it."
Philippoussis reached a career-high No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after claiming his lone ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells (d. Moya) in 1999. Boasting one of the most feared serves of his era, he fired 6,709 aces, amassing a 313-204 record over 13 years.
The Aussie will team with Ryan Harrison in the Newport doubles competition. The wild cards open against Tatsuma Ito and Lukas Lacko.