No Homeland Handout for 'Age of Love's' Mark Philippoussis in Next Year's Australian Open
No Homeland Handout for 'Age of Love's' Mark Philippoussis in Next Year's Australian Open
No one but Mark Philippoussis himself knows how hard it really was to choose from among 13 women and then from between the eventual two finalists during his recent search for lasting romance on the reality dating show, Age of Love.  However tough it was to find his heart's true preference, the Australian tennis star may have an even more daunting task when he finally embarks on a comeback in professional tennis.

As we reported last month, Philippoussis will begin his return to the professional men's tour via the Stanford Championships senior's event to be held in Dallas from October 17-21.  The Texas tournament will mark the Aussie Scud's debut in the senior circuit as a preparatory step for getting back in the ATP circle.  When Philippoussis finally does realize his intended comeback to the ATP tour next year, among his first opportunities will be the Australian Open, which is the first grand slam event in the yearly ATP calendar.

Having been out of commission since being sidelined by a knee injury way back in January, the Scud has a little over four months to get back into shape and into his groove in time for the Australian Open which begins January 14 next year.  Being a native Australian, the Open is among the closest to the recent Age of Love bachelor's heart.  Aside from that, as the first grand slam of the year, it will certainly put Philippoussis on track for his desired comeback.

Before he can hope to enter the Aussie Open though, the former top player must once again prove himself competition worthy to merit even a wild card entry into the tournament.  As early as now, Tennis Australia has issued advance notice to all hopefuls that they will not be handing out free wild cards into the Open.

"Earning a wildcard is a privilege, not a right,” Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia's director of tennis and the Australian Open's tournament director, announced in no uncertain terms over Tennis Australia's website.  “Therefore, in order to gain the most benefit out of wildcard opportunities, we set standard criteria of which players are eligible under.  I'm of the opinion, generally, in coaching and player development, you've got to earn your stripes and you shouldn't be given an opportunity without going through the ranks."

At this point, Age of Love's first ever searcher isn't exactly on the short list of Tiley's possible wild card candidates for January.

"He's pretty far from direct acceptance, pretty far from close to being in [tour events]," Tiley said bluntly.  "We have the playoff in December, so there's an opportunity there; youth policy is out and his world ranking [is low]. We'll go down that list."

-Rosario Santiago, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Tennis Week
(Image Courtesy of Australian Open)