Scud goes from hero to zero - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Scud goes from hero to zero

By Sam Lienert 08/02/2004 08:55:59 PM Comments (0)

A bewildered Mark Philippoussis headed for a break still searching for answers after Australia fell from Davis Cup champion to first-round loser for the first time in its proud tennis history.

Philippoussis was the man at the centre of both the 2003 triumph and the 2004 flop, which came just 70 days apart, as an outranked but courageous Sweden beat Australia 4-1 in the world group tie in Adelaide.

The world No.9 suffered his second limp defeat of the tie when iron-willed veteran Jonas Bjorkman thrashed him 7-5 6-2 6-2, clinching the victory and sending Australia into the ignominy of a world group promotion-relegation play-off in September.

It was the seventh time a nation has fallen at the first hurdle in the defence of a Davis Cup title since the competition entered its current format in 1972.

Philippoussis, who earned national hero status with his gutsy five-set win over Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero to seal Australia's Davis Cup final win in November, was left reeling by Bjorkman.

His substandard performance followed an equally meek 6-3 6-4 6-2 loss to Thomas Enqvist on Friday.

"It's three days I want to try to put behind me," Philippoussis said.

"One day you're the hero, the next day everyone jumps on you, that's tennis and that's how it is here unfortunately."

Philippoussis said he felt helpless against Swedes playing brilliant tennis in both matches, and the tie had a nightmarish quality.

"This whole weekend feels like the twilight zone," he said.

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