My Life In Travel: Mark Philippoussis

'I like to be spontaneous. I'll just jump on a plane to go surfing in Florida'
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The Independent Travel

What is your first holiday memory?

What is your first holiday memory?

We used to do a lot of fishing while we were growing up in Victoria, Australia,. We would go to a place called Lakes Entrance, which is about five hours drive from Melbourne.

How did you spend the summers of your childhood?

Mostly fishing with my family. We spent time on the beach, at lakes and at a place called Yarrawonga on theMurray River.

What has been your best holiday?

I went to the state of Hawaii for the first time last year and stayed on the North Shore of Oahu while there was a surf competition going on there. I love the ocean and I surf whenever and wherever I can. It was great to have time to myself doing something I really love.

Are you a frequent traveller?

Yes, I travel pretty much all through the year, playing tennis around the world.

What is your favourite place in the British Isles?

When I travel to England it's nearly always for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, so I

only really know Wimbledon village. I rent a house there for about a month during the competition. My favourite place in Australia is Queensland, in particular the Gold Coast and Surfers' Paradise. I love the weather, it's always warm and so is the water, and the people are just so laid back.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Travel makes you more streetwise, because you have to be aware of your belongings all the time, especially when you're on the road.

Are you an independent traveller?

Yes, I like to do my own thing, because my working life is so organised. When I do have some time off, the last thing I want to do is give myself a schedule. I like to be spontaneous - if I want to I'll just jump on a plane and go to see a friend in California or go surfing in Florida.

Who would be your ultimate travelling companion?

Nobody in particular, but I have to travel with my laptop, my Tempur-Pedic pillow (an orthopaedic pillow) and my mobile phone, just in case - I like to make sure I'm always in contact with my loved ones.

Are you a beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Definitely a beach bum - I really love surfing, but I like to relax too when I get the chance.

What luxury would you never travel without?

As long as you have your wallet, your passport and mobile phone, you can pretty much do anything you want.

What do you read on holiday?

Surf magazines!

To where have you lost your heart?

I haven't really lost my heart to anywhere yet but there are still a lot of places for me to visit. I did really enjoy Hawaii with its incredible beaches and mountains.

Is it better to travel than to arrive?

I'm not a big fan of travelling, so it's definitely better to arrive; I've spent so much time on planes getting from one tournament to another.

What has been the worst thing that has happened to you on holiday?

A family member passed away while I was travelling, which makes it harder to be away all the time, but other than that nothing terrible has really happened.

To where would you never return?

St Polten in Austria. I once played a tournament there and there was a rubber factory right next to the tennis courts - the smell really put me off. I promised myself I would never go back because the smell was so atrocious; I have really bad memories of the place, it was almost impossible to breathe.

Where is the most overrated place you've been?

I haven't been anywhere that people have spoken really highly about that I've been disappointed by.

Where is the most underrated place you've been?

Again, I have never been anywhere that's really amazed me. When I do go on holiday, I always go somewhere I know that I am going to like.

To where would you emigrate?

To Hawaii, for the surf.

Where would be your trip of a lifetime?

I'd love to go to Venice, I think it could be really romantic there. I'd also love to rent a boat or yacht and go around the Greek Islands for a week or two. I went there for a holiday a year ago and I was amazed by the beautiful scenery, the startling blue water and the friendly people.

The world ends tomorrow - where do you regret never having been?

I would still love to go to places like Fiji and Tahiti, and to Venice.

Where are you going next?

To Britain for a month to play in the Boodle & Dunthorne Champions Challenge and then on to Wimbledon.

Mark Philippoussis is playing at the Boodle & Dunthorne Champions Challenge at Stoke Park Club, Buckinghamshire, which runs from 16-19 June. Tickets are available by calling 020-7384 4877, or go to