Mark Philippoussis’ father faces 14 counts of sex offences
San Diego-based tennis coach Nikolaos "Nick" Philippoussis will face 14 counts of sex offences against minors, including two counts of sexual acts with a child younger than 10 years.
The Australian national, 68, the father of former tennis champ Mark Philippoussis, was arrested after 9am on Wednesday morning at his San Diego home in Mira Mesa.
Police said Mr Philippoussis offered no resistance and was taken to jail after a short but intensive investigation that was conducted without his knowledge and based on at least two complaints to local police.
"There are two victims, both minors, and we're not identifying their sex at this time," said Lieutenant Greg Rylaarsdam of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Central Investigations Unit.
Lieutenant Rylaarsdam said the District Attorney applied to a Superior Court judge for a warrant to arrest Mr Philippoussis, based on the complaints from students he was coaching. The judge granted a request that bail be set at US$2.5m.
Mr Philippoussis is segregated away from mainstream prisoners in the downtown San Diego Central Jail due to the nature of the complaints. He will face arraignment on Friday, California time, where the charges will be formally read.
If he seeks bail, he would need to put up collateral of $2.5m or get a bail bond to post 10 per cent of the full amount.
"They're felony charges which carry state prison potential," Lieutenant Rylaarsdam said.
"We're not releasing lots of information to protect the victims. At this point we're saying younger than 14."
Mark Philippoussis, whose father acted as both his coach and business manager through a long professional career that began in 1994, exited his residence, also in San Diego, but declined talk to media.
Mark, 40, is not under police investigation nor linked to his father's case in any way.
In recent days he was listed as a substitute with the local professional tennis club, the San Diego Aviators. He won 11 singles titles and at his peak in in 2003 lost the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.
Mark, who is trying to create an apparel line, has like his father been largely been based in the US since the early 2000s, first in Florida then California. Both appear to live in relatively modest digs.
Last year, Mark posted an Instagram message on Father's Day, stating: "Happy Fathers Day dad and to all the dads, thank you for your love, support and always being at my side through the good and the bad."
Lieutenant Rylaarsdam said in most cases, police investigated and interviewed a suspect before arresting them. "In this case, we developed probable cause (based on complaints received) and we went out and arrested him."
Police said Mr Philippoussis had been arrested for "multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts with two minor victims.
"Philippoussis works as a personal tennis coach in Northern San Diego County and the alleged molestation victims took tennis lessons from him," said a police statement.
"The investigation is ongoing at this time."
The Sheriff's Department has 72 hours to produce an inmate for arraignment. Mr Philippoussis will be asked to enter a plea on Friday.
A neighbour of Mr Philippoussis, Cynthia Buenaventura, said Nick lived with a younger woman, aged in her 50s. "We just say hello," she said.
"They're friendly. We've been here 18 years, they've been here two or three. We sometimes here kids playing in the backyard, that's it."