Philippoussis faces 14 sex-offence counts

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The details on the charges to be brought against former tennis star Mark Philipoussis’s father Nick in San Diego are worse than feared.

According to multiple media reports, including News Corp Australia, Nick Philippoussis will face 14 counts of sex offenses against minors.

Two of those are accusations of “lewd and lascivious” sexual acts with a child younger than 10 years old.

The reports says the investigation came in the wake of two complaints made to the San Diego police. A “short but intensive” effort followed from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Central Investigations Unit.

Spokesperson Greg Rylaarsdam said they are not identifying the gender of the children at this time, or their ages – they’re saying “younger than 14 – to protect the alleged victims.

Philippoussis’s son Mark is in San Diego, but had no comment in response to questions from a NewCorp journalist who went to his home.

Investigation followed complaints

He said that typically, alleged perpetrators are interviewed before they are arrested but in this case, the investigation went went forward without Nick Philippoussis’s knowledge, and led to the arrest.

NewCorp reports that Nick Philippoussis is in a segregated unit in San Diego Central Jail, because of the nature of the complaints. The formal reading of the charges will come Friday.

Bail is set at $2.5 million US. Nick Philippoussis (or his family) would have to come up with that value in collateral, or have a bondsman put up $250,000 in (non-refundable) cash to get out on bail.  

Father of Philippoussis arrested on sex charges

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In shocking news from Southern California, the father of former Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis was arrested Tuesday.

The charges are suspicion of sexually abusing two children.

Nick (Nikolaos) Philippoussis, now 68, was one of those “tennis dads” back in the day, as his handsome, talented son Mark was rocketing to the top of the game.

According to this Reuters wrapup and other news stories, Nick Philippoussis was arrested at his home in a San Diego suburb and is being held in jail, in lieu of posting $2.5 million bail.

The charges are felonies. And if Philippoussis is found guilty, there is some major jail time involved. He will be arraigned Wednesday.

Greg Rylaarsdam of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said investigators established “probable cause to support sexual allegations made against him.”

The charges are pretty horrible. “Suspicion of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years old or younger, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and oral copulation of a person under 18.” The children were said to be taking lessons from Nick Philippoussis, who worked as a private tennis coach.

The sheriff’s office posted a request on Twitter looking for “more victims in a molestation case to come forward”, along with a contact number, early this afternoon. That Tweet appears to have been deleted. But the same request was made in the department’s press release.

A father-and-son team hits the top

Mark Philippoussis, who is now 40, lives in that area as well and appears to still be very close to his father. He named his son Nick in his honour.

A former bank employee who moonlighted as a taxi driver to finance his son’s training, Nick Philippoussis became a tennis coach – as so many tennis fathers have before him – when Mark showed promise. His background certainly wasn’t in tennis; he had been a soccer goalkeeper back in his native Greece.

Nick Philippoussis also was his son’s manager at times. That didn’t always work out well; Mark Philippoussis’s major financial struggles after the big money stopped coming in were well-documented. Nick Philippoussis himself filed for bankruptcy back in 2009. He also had cancer some 20 years ago.

Philippoussis
Philippoussis and his father both now live in the San Diego area, where the father was giving private tennis lessons. (Mark Philippoussis Instagram)

Tennis dad from hell

The father was protective of the son to a major degree. At times, it seemed that anyone else who tried to help him (including the legendary Nick Bollettieri) often found themselves cast aside. He was also known to be extremely tough on him, verbally abusive at times.

Bollettieri wrote about it in his book:

“He treated me like the water boy, not like a coach. Whatever I said, he said the opposite. He embarrassed me in front of other players. He embarrassed Mark, too, berated him in the locker-room at Monte Carlo. His rivals should be intimidated by Mark; they should not be feeling sorry for him.”

Nicknamed the “Scud”, Philippoussis was the Bernard Tomic of his day. it was about flashy cars, flashy women, and probably not nearly enough focus on the task at hand despite his outsized talent. The parallels between the two are certainly not out of line.

But Tomic still has time. In the end, Philippoussis’s knees betrayed him. And it happened just as he began to grow up enough to realize how short a tennis career is. He basically has no cartilage left in those knees. But he still plays legends events. Just last weekend, he played for the San Diego Aviators of World Team Tennis.

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Philippoussis teamed up with countryman Lleyton Hewitt to win the Legends invitational at Wimbledon just 10 days ago. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

No doubt this story is going to get uglier. And it just proves, once again, that you never know what peoples’ lives are really like, when you’re trying to look in from the outside.

Aussie Slam champion Rose dies at 87

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It’s not been a great week for Aussie tennis history.

On the heels of the tragic early death of Peter Doohan from Lou Gehrig’s disease comes the news that seven-time Grand Slam champion Mervyn Rose has died.

Rose was 87.

From Coff’s Hardour, New South Wales, on what’s known as the “Banana Coast” about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, the lefty serve-volleyer’s career in tennis touched every area.

He won the Australian Open, beating No. 1 seed Ken Rosewall on the way to the 1954 title. But he wasn’t just a home-Slam champion; Rose also won the 1958 French Open title. 

In doubles, he won the US Championships in 1952 and 1953 and the Australian Championships and Wimbledon, both in 1954. He also won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1957. Rose was a finalist on another eight occasions in majors.

More on him here.

Rose was a vital cog on the dynastic Australian Open Davis Cup team in the Harry Hopman era. He represented six times and was part of the championship squads in 1951 and 1957.

That was it for Rose, because he turned pro in 1959 (as many players did at that time, to try to make a living in the game), Thus, he couldn’t compete in the major tournaments or represent in Davis Cup after that.

Coaching women legends

After retiring in 1972, he was a coach – notably on the women’s side, where he worked with a few names you might recognize: Margaret Court, Billie Jean King and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. He also coached Eleni Daniliidou and Nadia Petrova.

Rose was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001, in the same class as Ivan Lendl.

(Feature photo from Tennis Australia)

Tomic speaks out, Dad dismayed

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WIMBLEDON – Before Bernard Tomic headed off for a holiday in the U.S., he dropped a few more nuggets of Tomic Talk in an exclusive interview with the Melbourne Herald Sun.

“You probably don’t like me but, at only 24, you guys can only dream about having what I have at 24,” he told the Herald Sun. “End of the day, don’t like me or whatever. Just go back dreaming about your dream car or house while I go buy them.”

Tomic left Wimbledon with a little less scratch to buy his big-ticket items. He was being assessed a hefty fine for his post-match comments after losing to Mischa Zverev in the first round.

He also might have a few more issues filling the new Lamborghini with gas going forward. Racquet sponsor Head dropped him in the wake of those comments.

But for now, he’s balancing the books just fine.

Dad Tomic says son’s too comfy

Tomic’s father John was in so many ways the creator of this rather immature character. But even he has concluded that Bernie has gone a little too far.

“He’s my son, I love him, but I’m ashamed at how he’s approaching his business. It’s not good what he’s doing,” John Tomic told the Herald Sun. “I do not support such behaviour, especially at (a) unique grand slam like Wimbledon. You have to have respect and follow the rules. You have to work hard. And you have to put in 100 per cent and challenge yourself.”

Tomic père spoke out. But he wasn’t too thrilled with some of the former players who suggested his son should (practically) be run out of town on a rail.

Some of those people, of course, actually have bought their dream house or dream car. And, also, won Grand Slam titles. So it’s not only the great unwashed who take exception.

There are a lot of pretty good quotes in this Herald Sun story. In a nutshell, all of those words basically reiterate that both Tomic and his father still have some growing up to do.