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Team lacked confidence in the Scud

Greg Stutchbury | November 30, 2003 20:07 IST

Australia's Davis Cup team had been convinced that a chest injury had affected Mark Philippoussis so badly that he would lose his match and the final against Spain would go to a fifth rubber on Sunday.

In fact Philippoussis, who comfortably won the first two sets against Juan Carlos Ferrero before losing the next two, managed to blow the world's third-ranked player off the court in the last set, completing a 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 2-6, 6-0 victory.

The win handed Australia their 28th Davis Cup.

"I had that break between the fourth and fifth sets and went into the locker room and Lleyton was in there doing some sprinting drills," a smiling Philippoussis said at a news conference.

"I just said to him 'what are you doing?' He was already dressed, putting on his socks and doing some footwork drills," he added, laughing.

Hewitt, scheduled to play Carlos Moya in the fifth rubber, said he had had to be prepared for the possibility of playing.

"There was definitely a moment after 6-1, 6-2 in the third and fourth set that I thought I could be out there," said Hewitt. "To his credit it was a hell of an effort to come back."

Doubles player Todd Woodbridge added that he thought the 27-year-old had been in danger of losing the match because momentum had swung to Ferrero.

"I thought he was done. Done like a dinner" said Woodbridge. "(At) two sets all I was telling Rusty (Hewitt) to move his feet faster in the locker room because it is one of the best efforts that I have ever seen at being able to turn a match around.

Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said the injury to Philippoussis's chest was also causing him concern because his player was in so much pain.

"At that stage he was hurting but the good news is so was Juan Carlos Ferrero," said Fitzgerald.

"He (Philippoussis) was in so much pain but we were just telling him to put it out of his mind.

"If you start off strongly here, you hold your first serve and you start chipping and come in quickly and put some pressure on him.

Philippoussis, who said he would need to have a MRI scan on Monday, said the break for treatment had helped him refocus.

"It was good just to step back and go into the locker room and get away from the court for a minute," he said.

 


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