Philippoussis to return to tennis at Australian Open seniors

December 22nd, 2008 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 22 (DPA) Mark Philippoussis will return to tennis after two years to play in the seniors event at the Australian Open.The 32-year-old double Grand Slam finalist sprang the surprise Monday, with the first major of the season now a month away. Philippoussis last competed at the Hopman Cup in January 2007, where he went down with an injury.

Plagued by knee problems and ensuing surgery throughout his career, the Australian hopes his fitness holds up for what is much more than a hit-and-giggle competition among former greats of the game, played during the second week of the Open.

In the doubles, Philippoussis will partner French former great Henri Leconte.

“I always loved watching him (Leconte) when I was growing up and dreaming of being a professional tennis player,” Philippoussis said. “He was one of my heroes and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to play with him against guys like (Thomas) Muster and (Guy) Forget.”

The seniors event is undergoing a relaunch, with ex-doubles legend Todd Woodbridge as the tournament director. Woody called Philippoussis “a huge drawcard.”

“This will be a great event for him to test himself as he comes back from injury. He’s a fantastic competitor and is really looking forward to play with and against some of his heroes of the game,” he said.

Also in the senior field are a trio of former number one players, Australian Pat Rafter, Austrian Thomas Muster and Mats Wilander of Sweden.

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