Los Angeles. Two-time Davis Cup champion, Mark Philippoussis, Reveals His Thoughts on Competitive Tennis and Its Younger Generation.

JACQUES partnered with tennis champion Mark Philippoussis on its first tennis capsule collection for a number of reasons: winning two Davis Cup titles for Australia, a ranking of world No. 8, and his legendary, big serves. Alongside his impressive history in competitive tennis, he maintains an active and healthy lifestyle–both mentally and physically–that aligns seamlessly with JACQUES' values. We had the opportunity to speak with Philippoussis about his thoughts on the current state of competitive tennis and its younger generation players. 


Tennis is going through an interesting evolution and a younger generation is a part of it. What are your thoughts on its recent realignment? And what stands out to you? 

We are getting very close to a time where younger generation players need to step up and take the place of Federer and Nadal. Personally, I believe nobody can fill their place, as they will go down as two of the greatest of all time. For me right now, I feel Alexander Zverev is someone that leads in that list, as far as having the whole package physically and mentally. I don’t believe people understand just how lucky we have been in this sport. We have some of the greatest players playing currently. Federer won twenty grand slams, Nadal won seventeen, followed by Djokovic, who won fourteen. I think about this and that the fact that they are still playing–it's incredible. When they are finished playing, someone needs to be ready to step up, otherwise tennis fans won't be watching anymore.

In what ways has the perception of tennis developed over the years in competitive tennis playing? 

I think it's obvious how physical the game has become over the years and the reason behind it is that the game has slowed down a lot in terms of the playing condition on the courts. The balls are heavier and much slower than they used to be, so the rallies are longer. It gets harder to put the ball away. Because of this, the players have become physically stronger. They are hitting the ball harder. Also, the technology in racquets and strings have a lot to do with it.

It's clear the game has become much more physical for younger generation players. How do you feel about the mental aspect of the game? How has it evolved in terms of the way players strategize and think about the game?

Tennis has always been a very mental sport. As the average points and its matches getting longer, the mental part of the game has become even more important. And it’s important to understand your strengths, but also your weaknesses, while adjusting them during the match depending on who your opponent is and how your game matches up to theirs.

What are some other elements that have changed in the game?

I hope too many things won't change. They have added a shot clock between points, which I don’t mind. It adds some excitement for the crowd to watch the shot clock run down. This doesn’t really change anything for the players, except for maybe a couple like Nadal and Djokovic, who are known for taking a little more time between points to serve because of their ball bouncing and routines.

Where do you feel there is room to grow in the sport?
There is always room for a sport to grow, but I hope it's done by the players and their games, and not by adding new rules to the sport in order for things to seem more interesting and exciting.

And looking at your own experience on tour, what's your takeaway for younger generation tennis players?
To soak in the moments. It’s so easy to get lost in the whole picture of the tour, by going from one city or country to the other, while not having the chance to appreciate where you are. So, soak in those moments on the center courts and stadiums.


Editor: Chloë Richards Rubenstein
Photography: Sebastian Sabal-Bruce

Berlin. Artist, Andrew Westermann, on Upholding an Active Mind and Body.

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