Aussie tennis great Mark Philippoussis has announced some tough news having split with World No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas only days out from the French Open. Philippoussis, a former World No.8 and Wimbledon finalist, started working with the 24-year-old after Wimbledon last year.
The pair have enjoyed success together with the highlight coming earlier this year when Tsitsipas made the Australian Open final. However, the World No.5 lost to an unstoppable Novak Djokovic in the final.
Despite the momentum, Philippoussis took to social media to announce the pair had parted ways leading into Roland Garros. Despite the split after a short time together, the Australian was full of praise for the tennis star.
"@stefanostsitsipas98 thank for the opportunity of being a part of your team,” Philippoussis wrote on Instagram. “It was a great ride and experience, I’m proud of what we achieved together in the short amount of time we had.
"I wish you health, happiness and success for your future, on and off the court!" Ahead of Indian Wells this year, Tsitsipas highlighted the influence the calm Aussie mentor brought to his entourage.
Philippoussis was seen as a calming influence to Tsitsipas' team with the tennis star often seen getting frustrated at his player's box with his father acting at his long-time coach. “Mark is a very wise man, he has a lot of knowledge," the 24-year-old said.
“I think the fact that he’s lived these things himself on the tour and he’s able to provide some [advice] to me now is essential. "He provides a lot of feedback. He can relate to a lot of things that have happened to me and sees a little bit of himself in me in some circumstances and situations.”
Only last week, Tsitsipas was involved in a blow up with his mother - who is Russian-born and Greek - at the Italian Open last week. His mother, Julia, was seen walking up and down the stairs in Tsitsipas' player's box.
The 24-year-old appeared to turn his attention to her in a fiery mid-match rant after his mother spoke to him in Russian. Tsitsipas could have been fuming considering his opponent was Russian Daniil Medvedev.
The Greek star reportedly told his mother to leave the stadium in his blow-up. He went on to lose the match in rome.
Mark Philippoussis praised at the Australian Open
Tsitsipas also got a huge laugh from the Rod Laver Arena crowd earlier this when he took a little dig at Philippoussis when Jim Courier asked about the Australian's influence. The American asked the 24-year-old what the former tennis player brought to his coaching team.
"A sense of humour," Tsitsipas joked. "A serve and volley tactic, which I never use," Tsitsipas said when becoming more serious. "It's always there, somewhere, it's there if I need it."
Philippoussis was a brilliant serve-and-volley tactician having made his way to the 2003 Wimbledon final, before losing to Roger Federer. The 'Scud', as he was affectionally called in Australia, was an integral part of the nation's David Cup team often teaming up with Lleyton Hewitt.
Australian master coach Darren Cahill recognised Philippoussis' influence on the World No.5 and commented on his post. "Well done mate. The run at the AO was big," he wrote.
Another fan wrote: "A bit of sad news. Thank you so much for everything you did, you were fantastic." Another commented read: "A great partnership. Was great seeing you two together."
At this year's Australian Open, Tsitsipas pinpointed the reason Philippoussis joined his coaching team, after some drama involving his rants towards his parents. “The reason Mark is part of the team is because the dynamic has showed that it’s good,” Tsitsipas said.
“There hasn’t been any friction. It’s been going well. We get along well, all of us. We understand each other. There’s never misunderstandings or things that lead to conflict. I’m enjoying this.
“I’ve been enjoying this even in 2022. He makes for a good guy to have next to my father that can advise him, that can help him, can help me. Hopefully I can help him as well through experience, vice versa.”
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