Sydney, July 3 : Former tennis ace Mark Philippoussis had a close brush with death when he was surfing in seas off Victoria's south-west coast on Thursday.
While he was surfing off Bells Beach, the turbulent waters smashed his board into half, and he was eventually dragged into a sea cave.
Witnesses to the incident have revealed that the former top 10 player suffered hip and feet injuries after being swept into the area called The Valley, while being battered by huge waves.
A witness even said that he had asked Philippoussis not to surf out of Winki Pop beach, but to head closer to Bells Beach.
"I said, 'Ah mate, I wouldn't be going there because the sweep is really strong. Go up the stairs, down to Bells Beach, go a little bit up the beach then paddle out' and said be careful," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted one Steve Ryan as telling Channel Nine.
"He nearly got taken out by a big set ... which was really dangerous," the witness added.
Ryan said that Philippoussis' girlfriend, who was nearby, was informed about the incident.
He revealed that Philippoussis was slightly injured.
"He got swept down, broke his board and took refuge in a cave for, like, two hours, had all his feet up and he hurt his hip," said the witness.
The report also suggested that Philippoussis was recovering at his parents' home in Williamstown, in Melbourne's west.
His mother said Philippoussis was doing okay after his ordeal.