Entertainment

Mark Philippoussis once dated ‘cougars’ in controversial reality show

Tennis pro Mark Philippoussis is currently starring in season two of SAS Australia.

But the Channel Seven series isn’t Mark’s first stint on reality TV, with the sportsman appearing on a cheesy American dating show back in 2007.

Title Age of Love, the series followed a then 30-year-old Philippoussis as he dated women in their 20s and 40s to determine the best age group to date.

Flashback: Tennis pro Mark Philippoussis previously starred in the cheesy Bachelor-esque dating show Age of Love back in 2007 (pictured)

The women in their 20s were dubbed ‘kittens’ on the series, while the over 40s were called ‘cougars’.

Because the younger cast members were much closer in age to Mark than the cougars, many viewers and critics felt that they had an unfair advantage.

Unsurprisingly, the tennis champ chose 25-year-old cheerleader Amanda Salinas in the end.

The couple dated for five months after filming wrapped, before splitting amicably.

Does age matter? Title Age of Love, the series followed a then 30-year-old Philippoussis as he dated women in their 20s and 40s to determine the best age group to date

Does age matter? Title Age of Love, the series followed a then 30-year-old Philippoussis as he dated women in their 20s and 40s to determine the best age group to date

Mark retired from tennis in 2015 – but on SAS Australia, the champion revealed his passion for the game waned years prior.

In an interrogation with the instructors, the 44-year-old said he felt personally slighted when he was unable to score a lucrative clothing contract despite his success on the court.

At the time, he had reached the finals of the 2003 Wimbledon tournament and won the Davis Cup, as well as reaching the number eight rank in the world.

Despite this, sponsors were not biting – and it left the young tennis player feeling dejected.

Like a fine wine! Mark enjoys a date with 48-year-old 'cougar' Jennifer Braff on the show

Like a fine wine! Mark enjoys a date with 48-year-old ‘cougar’ Jennifer Braff on the show

Rookie: The tennis pro snaps a selfie with 21-year-old university student Megan Klehr

Rookie: The tennis pro snaps a selfie with 21-year-old university student Megan Klehr

‘I lost the love for tennis towards the end. I took things very personally that happened to me,’ he said during the episode.

‘I had my third knee surgery and was in a wheelchair for three months, and on crutches for a couple months. I was told I would never play tennis professionally again. That dove me.

‘I came back and had my strongest year. I was in the finals at Wimbledon, eighth in the world and winning Davis Cup. [And I thought] how could I not have a clothing contract? My thought was ‘f**k you’.

‘My passion withered, I was battling an injury, and I just felt beaten up,’ he explained.

Mark continued: ‘I knew what it would take, and I thought, do I want to go there again? And I didn’t. I didn’t want to go there again’.

True love? Mark chose 25-year-old cheerleader Amanda Salinas in the end. The couple dated for five months after filming wrapped, before splitting amicably (pictured together)

True love? Mark chose 25-year-old cheerleader Amanda Salinas in the end. The couple dated for five months after filming wrapped, before splitting amicably (pictured together)

The athlete went on to explain that he squandered his prize money by ordering up whatever expensive item he desired.

‘I was able to get what I wanted, and when I did, I was bored in five minutes. I knew straight away that didn’t make me happy, that didn’t motivate me at all,’ he said.

‘I would watch a new movie, like Bad Boys, and see they had the new Porsche Turbo, and I would call up my agent and say, “Get me the new Porsche Turbo”.’

‘That’s how ridiculous it was. The prize money doesn’t make you happier, but ends up becoming the new normal.

‘Now I just shake my head and laugh and go, “What an idiot”.’

Family: The tennis player has been married to Romanian-born model Silvana Lovin since 2013. They share- daughter Maia Maria, two, and son Nicholas, six. All pictured

Family: The tennis player has been married to Romanian-born model Silvana Lovin since 2013. They share- daughter Maia Maria, two, and son Nicholas, six. All pictured

Mark went on to say that these days, he is motivated to be the best man he can be for his wife and children.

‘It’s simple, what I had as a tennis player was one chapter, this is anther one. I want to be a better husband, I want to be a better father,’ he confessed.

‘I cant remember the last time I have dreamed of something of I wanted to do or become.’

The tennis player has been married to Romanian-born model Silvana Lovin since 2013.

The couple share two children – daughter Maia Maria, two, and son Nicholas, six.

He's back! Mark is currently starring on the second season of SAS Australia

He’s back! Mark is currently starring on the second season of SAS Australia 


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