Just two months after a somewhat messy separation, Mark Philippoussis is reportedly set to rejoin Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas' camp in a major shake-up of the World No.5's inner sanctum. The tennis world was caught off-guard when it was revealed the pair were parting ways ahead of the French Open earlier this year, which came after Tsitsipas charged to the Australian Open final just months before that.
The reported move to re-hire Philippoussis will also see Tsitsipas' father Apostolos take a reduced role in his son's career, only appearing in the coaches box during grand slam events. The enigmatic 24-year-old has spoken out about the difficulties in the often fiery relationship between the pair, saying there has been immense value in his father's presence but added that it is 'stressful' more often than not.
'OH MY GOD': Tennis world in shock over 'terrible' on-court drama
Both Philippoussis and Tsitsipas spoke warmly of one another when the split was made public in May, not long before the Greek star was ousted from Roland Garros by Daniil Medvedev. The pair were spotted in Los Cabos in Mexico this week, with the former Australian champion reportedly rejoining Tsitspas under a revised contract ahead of the upcoming US Open.
The pair have worked together in various capacities since February 2020, with Tsitspias also making it to the French Open final in 2021 under the guidance of Philippoussis. It's a remarkable backfilp from the lead-up to the 2023 French Open, in which Tsitsipas had discussed a desire for a 'less is more' approach to his coaching arrangements.
The move left some in the tennis world questioning whether or not Tsitsipas was trying to have his immediate family less involved in his coaching, particularly in the wake of a nasty argument with his mother during the Italian Open in the lead-up to Roland Garros.
"The more I go older, it's more challenging to me to train with my dad, but he's the right person for me," Tistsipas said recently. "We've different point of views, but he gives me different perspectives. It’s stressful at times."
YES!! Great decision
— Laura Smith (@lgssgs) August 2, 2023
Tsitsipas should’ve done replaced his father completely the moment he lost to Medvedev on clay. He had no business losing that match tbh https://t.co/fHrJXPyMDN
— High on Tennis (@atennishigh) August 1, 2023
Philippoussis? Man, thought Tsitsipas camp was lost, but not that lost!
— Jose Pimentel (@JosePim89357411) August 1, 2023
I have a suspicion that Tsitsipas desperately wants to remove his father from his team, or at least from the head coaching role, but he either feels too guilty to actually do it or there are other factors at play stopping him from doing it https://t.co/GyiAquQCWA
— B Holt (@BHoltTenns) August 1, 2023
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!"
Stefanos Tsitsipas backflips on Mark Philippoussis split
Tsitsipas had also spoken with praise about the influence Philippoussis has had on his career in their limited time working together. Amid a frequently volatile relationship with his parents, the 24-year-old said he had benefited from the Aussie's years of experience.
“Mark is a very wise man, he has a lot of knowledge," he said earlier this year. “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.”
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.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.