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Scud's relaxed but Federer's already seen film

Mark Philippoussis and Roger Federer have an appointment with destiny in the men's singles final at Wimbledon on Sunday.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2003 22:25 IST

Mark Philippoussis and Roger Federer have an appointment with destiny in the men's singles final at Wimbledon on Sunday - but they admitted Saturday to adopting different approaches to the greatest game of their careers.

Whereas big-serving Australian Philippoussis professed to having enjoyed a good night's sleep after swatting Sebastien Grosjean of France in Friday's semis Swiss star Federer said he'd dreamed about the final already.

"Falling asleep was not so easy - just pictures going through my head," said the 21-year-old who shattered US star Andy Roddick's dreams of glory in his semi.

"But you always dream about being in the finals," added the man from Basel, who said he had "high expectations" to live up to two years on from being heralded as the new Pete Sampras, having beaten the original in a 2001 fourth-round match.

Philippoussis, 26, said he could afford to relax knowing that he has already won one big battle affer defying debilitating knee surgery to come back to the top of the game while his father Nick has also defied cancer over the past six years.

"It's a nice day just to get a bit of a hit in and get the body ready for tomorrow," said the Aussie serve machine who has banged down 164 aces in the past fortnight when asked about his pre-final routine.

"I slept great," he added, having unlike Federer experienced the tension of a Grand Slam final before in the 1998 US Open which he lost to compatriot Pat Rafter.

Since then Philippoussis, who bears an Alexander the Great tattoo on his right shoulder, says he has grown up into a far more mature player both on and off court.

"A lot of things have happened since then. I'm definitely a lot more mature person.

"This is a big step forward for me as a tennis player, but also as a person off the court. So I'll have a lot of pluses."

Win or lose, Philippoussis said he would not change his outlook on life.

"I like to keep to myself. I'm a very private person off the court."

But on it he is a man transformed.

"On the tennis court it feels like my stage. I'm not nervous, I'm not shy."

After his injury problems, the Aussie says he is more reflective.

"I'm a very lucky person - I have a family who love me. They're healthy and so I'm blessed.

"But on the tennis side I felt like I was a bit unlucky.

"Then I thought about it and that's the wrong approach to have. You've got to make your own luck."

For six games over 12 days luck has so far smiled on his efforts.

Now Philippoussis and Federer both chase the joy of seven.

First Published: Jul 05, 2003 22:15 IST