Sydney: Australian tennis great John Newcombe said Monday he bore no grudge against Mark Philippoussis despite admitting ‘The Scud’ was difficult to handle during his time as Davis Cup captain.
Newcombe’s book, Newk — Life on and off the Court, offers insight into problems he encountered trying to persuade Philippoussis to play Davis Cup and to convince his enigmatic charge that he and coach Tony Roche were behind him.
Newcombe writes that Philippoussis “had endless personal and family troubles, and didn’t cope well with them.”
“When under pressure, he was surly and wouldn’t practise — and he didn’t care who he was inconveniencing.”
Newcombe also revealed he had to escort Philippoussis to Pat Rafter’s hotel room during a Davis Cup tie in the US to prove to a “sulking” Scud that the latter wasn’t receiving preferential treatment.
Newcombe also hung up on Philippoussis after he refused to play the 1998 tie against Zimbabwe in Mildura and said he wanted to prove Newcombe and Roche wrong after he perceived them to have been disrespectful to his parents.
But Newcombe now says past rifts were water under the bridge.
“I don’t have a problem with Mark at all,” he said. “I’ve known him very well since he was 17 years of age and we achieved something out on the court in Davis Cup, winning the finals there (in 1999). Mark and I get on great.”