Sport Tennis Nick Philippoussis suffers massive stroke in US jail

Nick Philippoussis suffers massive stroke in US jail

nick Philippoussis
The father of former tennis star Mark Philippoussis is catatonic in a San Diego hospital, a US judge has been told. Photo: AAP
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Australian tennis coach Nick Philippoussis has suffered a massive stroke in a US jail and will likely never face trial on charges he sexual assaulted two young girls he trained in California.

A San Diego judge was told on Thursday local time that 68-year-old Philippoussis, the father of former world top-10 Australian player Mark Philippoussis, is catatonic after a stroke, has been hospitalised for weeks and is not expected to recover.

Mr Philippoussis has been in custody since his shock arrest in July for allegedly sexually abusing two nine-year-old girls, but with his health so dire Judge Michael Washington agreed to lift the $US9.2 million bail ($11.7 million) and set a hearing in June to check his condition.

Mr Philippoussis was initially arrested for allegedly sexually abusing the  girls he coached in the San Diego area for almost a year, with claims he committed the assaults in his car, home and at the California suburb of Fairbanks.

He pleaded not guilty to 14 counts including oral copulation/sexual penetration with a child under 10-years-old and lewd acts upon a child.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

There are no apparent links to victims in Australia.

Mark Philippoussis shot to prominence in the 1990s, reaching a career-high world ranking of number 8.

He reached the finals of the US Open in 1998, where he lost to Pat Rafter, and Wimbledon in 2003, where he lost to Roger Federer.

In June, the former tennis star posted a Father’s Day tribute to Nikolaos on Instagram.

“You were (and still are) always by my side protecting me and guiding me through life,” the post, which featured a photo of Nikolaos with his grandson, read.

“Watching you do the same with your grandson Nicholas is so beautiful to watch and I remain so grateful and blessed.”