SYDNEY, Australia - Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis has been branded a cad by tabloids and callers to talk radio after he was romantically linked with Paris Hilton before ending his relationship with Australian pop singer Delta Goodrem.
Since news emerged from Los Angeles on the weekend of hotel heiress Paris Hilton telling two Australians she was "head over heels in love" with Philippoussis, speculation over the Aussie tennis star and Goodrem's 10-month romance has been in the headlines Down Under.
It has overshadowed the split of former tennis No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and his Belgian fiancee Kim Clijsters, the former women's No. 1, four months before their planned wedding.
Philippoussis and Goodrem, 19, have refused to comment on the breakup and Hilton, 23, is reportedly furious that her comments have appeared in the media.
While TV celebrities and columnists have been scathing of Philippoussis, nicknamed Scud for his powerful serve, Rosanna Philippoussis went public to defend her son.
Gerry Penny / Reuters file
Mark Philippoussis was No. 9 in the world 10 months ago and now he's 106.
"Mark was No. 9 in the world 10 months ago and now he's 106. Well, he wants to put his life back into tennis and with a relationship, he can't do that."
A Sydney Morning Herald headline "Is Scud a cad?" reflected the general sentiment in the Australian media. TV and radio focussed on his string of failed romances, including a brief dalliance with women's tennis star Anna Kournikova.
The Daily Telegraph cited sources saying Philippoussis had ended the relationship with Goodrem earlier this month, a few days before he met Hilton at a party in Los Angeles.
Richard Squire, a publicist for Hilton, said the young socialite was outraged her comments had appeared in the media.
"The message from Paris was 'What is this all about?"' Squire was quoted saying. "It was probably just some throwaway comment."
Goodrem, a former star of Australian TV soap 'Neighbours,' met Philippoussis after he sent her a card while she was in rehabilitation from cancer last year.
Goodrem was in London this week to launch her new single 'Out of the Blue' - a song inspired by her love for Philippoussis. She won an award as Australia's best-selling artist at the 2004 World Music Awards last month.
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