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September 8, 2000
'Scud'-Rafter feud has AOC worriedGreg Buckle
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said on Saturday he hoped the AOC would not have to mediate between feuding tennis players Patrick Rafter and Mark Philippousis.
The two have hardly spoken to each other since Rafter criticised Philippousis for pulling out of July's Davis Cup semifinal tie against Brazil.
"I would hope that we would never have to mediate. We've never had to do that with any of our athletes to date with this team," Coates told a news conference.
"Mark Philippousis was a sensational member of our team in Atlanta. He lived in the village, he was very popular amongst the athletes.
"He's very keen to be part of this team, as all our players are. I don't see any problems."
Rafter, Philippoussis and teenager Lleyton Hewitt, who faces American Pete Sampras in the U.S. Open semifinal on Saturday, will play singles for Australia at the Olympics, which open on September 15.
Rafter, twice a U.S. Open champion, said in Sydney on Friday he was keen to end the feud with the big-serving Philippoussis.
"If I see him I'll be very happy to go up and say g'day," Rafter told reporters at a news conference.
He said he was prepared to room with Philippoussis at the athletes' village.
"It's a tricky one but I think over time it can work itself out," Rafter said.
Hewitt is also involved in the spat, commenting after Australia beat Brazil 5-0 that Philippoussis would not be needed for the Davis Cup final against Spain in December.
After losing his second-round match to Jan-Michael Gambil at the U.S. Open last week, Philippoussis said he didn't need an opportunity to clear the air with Rafter.
"He said what he had to say. That's final. I'm just worried about myself and play my matches," he said.
Philippoussis first upset his Davis Cup team mates when he withdrew from a 1998 tie with Zimbabwe that Australia lost, but then he helped Australia win last year's final in France.
Relations soured again this year when Philippoussis pulled out of the Brazil tie, citing knee soreness and expressing dismay at the public reaction against him.
Rafter, who lost the Wimbledon final to Pete Sampras then flew straight to Brisbane for the tie, told Philippousis to stop "jerking" his team mates around.
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