June 1, 2009 / 8:14 AM / 10 years ago

"Broke" Philippoussis serves up fault on loan payments

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s former Davis Cup stalwart Mark Philippoussis is in dire financial straits and being sued for defaulting on loan payments for his house, the former top 10 tennis player told local media.

The 32-year-old U.S. Open and Wimbledon finalist, famous for his love of fast cars and a string of celebrity girlfriends, said he was in the “toughest time” of his life, with a finance company seeking $1.3 million and possession of the Melbourne house he shares with his mother.

“Things are tough. Financially tough — oh my God — but more importantly than that, it’s been the mental side,” Philippoussis told the Herald Sun newspaper.

“I wouldn’t say I’m battling depression, but have I been depressed a lot in the past two years and freaked out about a lot of things? The answer is ‘yes’.”

Philippoussis, whose world ranking peaked at eight in 1999 and amassed nearly $7 million in career prizemoney, was once lauded a national hero after leading Australia to Davis Cup victories in 1999 and 2003.

But the big-serving Australian has been hampered by injuries and played little tennis in recent years.

Philippoussis, who once starred in a 2007 reality TV show where young and older women competed for his affections, had sold his black Lamborghini and vowed to fight his way out of debt.

He said he was expecting income from appearances at tennis legends events featuring former greats such as John McEnroe and Jim Courier.

“I haven’t played tennis since 2006 and tennis is one of those sports where if you don’t play, you don’t get paid,” Philippoussis said.

“I’ve written (the finance company) a letter detailing the income I have coming and it clearly pays everything back. Everything will be taken care of, so I just asked them, ‘Will you please give me some time?’”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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