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Philippoussis hopes Cahill and Reyes can help him mirror Agassi comeback


December 5, 2006

Ranked outside the world’s top 100, reduced to playing challenger tournaments and universally written off. That was Andre Agassi almost ten years ago, and Mark Philippoussis now.

Like Agassi, the Australian is determined to fight back to where he once was – inside the world’s top ten and competing at the sharp end of Grand Slam tournaments.

And, like Agassi did before him, he has turned to trainer Gil Reyes to help him.

Desperately lacking in form and fitness, Philippoussis called Reyes and Agassi’s former coach Darren Cahill, began a new training regime, and is now hoping to continue their blossoming relationship.

“I rang Darren and expressed strong feelings about wanting to work with him once Andre’s career was over,” said Philippoussis ahead of his charity match with Tim Henman at the BlackRock Masters in London on Tuesday.

“Darren was very truthful with me – he said he didn’t know what he wanted to do, and that he couldn’t guarantee anything because he has a family that he wants to spend time with, but he invited me to come to Vegas after the US Open and spend a couple of weeks training with him and Gil (Reyes). I was on the court every day with Darren, and in the gym with Gil.”

He now understands how Agassi reached a level of fitness that carried him back to No.1 in the world after his 30th birthday.

“I have never done anything like the training I’m doing with Gil,” said the 30-year-old who has now moved to Las Vegas himself.

“Hands-down it’s the best training I’ve ever done. I’ve spent a month with him and I’ve felt such a big difference. I just hope we can continue. It’s been intense but it’s been fun. It’s humbling going into that gym and training with those guys. Gil has worked on my conditioning from head to-toe, strengthening everything.”

And they are convinced it will ultimately lead him back to the very top of the game, just as it did with Agassi.

“I have no doubt that my best tennis is still ahead of me,” said Philippoussis.

“I know that there are a lot of people out there who will criticise me, and will roll their eyes and say that they have heard all this before, but the most important thing is that I believe it. As long as I believe it, it can happen. I want to be able to come back just like Andre did. Every time I go in the gym with Gil, I only hear positive things from him. I feel blessed to have had the chance to work with Darren and Gil – they have opened their doors to me. They didn’t need to do that, and I’m very thankful. I hope I can pay them back by winning a lot of matches.”

Philippoussis certainly seemed in decent form against Henman.

The Briton won 7-6, 6-4, but it was close throughout. The money raised from the night went to benefit Henman’s charity Kids at Heart.

The match was played alongside the BlackRock Masters, which is the culminating event on the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions.

The event features greats of the game such as John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster and Sergi Bruguera facing each other at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Dernière mise à jour : ( 06-12-2006 )
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