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Mark returns to his roots on comeback trail

Australian Mark Philippoussis will continue his latest comeback from injury in a Champions Series event in Athens next month.

sports Updated: Apr 18, 2007 16:05 IST

Australian Mark Philippoussis will continue his latest comeback from injury in a Champions Series event in Athens next month.

The 30-year-old former Wimbledon and US Open runner-up, who suffered a knee injury representing Australia at the Hopman Cup in January, returns to his Greek roots alongside a host of leading former players including American Pete Sampras.

"What unfolded around Christmas was very unfortunate for Mark but he's been working hard on the court and the opportunity to play in Greece works well for him," Philippoussis's manager Rob Aivatoglou told Australian Associated Press on Wednesday.

"It's a slow process back and it's all about getting on court and doing your best."

Phlippoussis has slipped to 138th in the world rankings but still hopes to return to the ATP tour full time.

"He doesn't want to get ahead of himself and start talking about what he's going to do," Aivatoglou said.

"We've just got to firstly make sure he's comfortable with his fitness on court. He'll continue working hard and we can evaluate his options.

"Playing in Greece is seen as a nice stepping stone and, given his ranking, it's an opportunity for him to see where he's at."

Philippoussis reached a career-high eighth in the rankings in 1999, the year after he lost to fellow Australian Pat Rafter in the U.S. Open final. He reached the Wimbledon final in 2003, losing to Roger Federer.

He had three operations on his left knee between 1999 and 2001, and damaged cartilage in his right knee during a match against France's Jerome Haehnel in Perth at the start of the year, forcing him to undergo further surgery.

Sampras, the record 14-times grand slam winner, former world number ones Mats Wilander and Jim Courier, and 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek have also entered the Athens tournament.