Father of Australian tennis star accused of child abuse

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The father of retired Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis was being held on $2.5 million bail Wednesday in San Diego after being arrested on suspicion of molesting two children.

Nikolaos Philippoussis, 68, is a personal tennis coach and the two alleged victims were his students, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

He was jailed on multiple counts, including lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 years old and sexual intercourse/sodomy with a child 10 years old or younger.

Authorities have found no indication that the elder Philippoussis was affiliated with a tennis school and did not know how many students he had, said sheriff's Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam. He declined to identify the genders of the two alleged victims or their exact ages.

"We're in the midst of this thing, not the end of it," Rylaarsdam said.

Philippoussis was arrested Tuesday at his home in San Diego and authorities searched the premises. Jail records do not identify any attorney representing him and Philippoussis did not immediately respond to a message sent through the sheriff's department Wednesday.

Mark Philippoussis was a two-time Grand Slam finalist who ranked as high as eighth in the world. He helped Australia win the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003.

His father was his coach for much of his career until 2006, when he struck out on his own, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

"My dad's my dad. He's been there from the start," the newspaper quoted Mark saying at the time. "Without him, I wouldn't be where I am. There's nothing at all that's happened with my dad. I just needed to spend some time on my own."

The tennis star recently wrote on his Instagram account, "Happy Father's Day dad, you were (and still are) always by my side protecting me and guiding me through life, and now watching you do the same with your grandson Nicholas is so beautiful to watch and I remain so grateful and blessed."

Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County district attorney, said any criminal charges would be filed at Philippoussis' arraignment, which must be held by Friday.


This version corrects that Mark Philippoussis helped Australia win the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003, not that he won it.

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