If Mark Philippoussis knew back then what he knows now… chances are he wouldn’t change a thing.

The Australian looks at the remarkable longevity of Novak Djokovic, still stockpiling trophies at the age of 36 years old, and can’t help but admire the Serb’s ongoing devotion to excellence more than two decades into his professional career.

Philippoussis didn’t do too badly during his own time in the sport; two-time grand slam finalist, two-time Davis Cup winner, a booming serve that peaked at a remarkable 142mph, earning him the nickname Scud, and a place in the top 10 in the world. Plenty then for tennis fans to reminisce over when the 46 year-old returns to Scotland this week to compete in the Brodies Tennis Invitational in Edinburgh.

Philippoussis struggled with injuries during his peak years but enjoyed the good life, too, dating a string of models, actresses and pop stars and wringing every last drop out of the accompanying celebrity lifestyle, amid accusations from coaches and tennis pundits that this big-serving sensation wasn’t always making the most of his talent.

A family man now, settled back in his hometown of Melbourne with wife Silvana and their two young children, there is no great urgency on Philippoussis’ part to revisit those days. But there are clearly no regrets about what he achieved in tennis - and perhaps even what he didn’t.

“If only you could put the mind you have now inside your 20 year-old body,” he muses on his past. “But you don’t get that wisdom until later on. You’re so narrow minded and stubborn when you’re young because you think that everything will last forever.

“There are things that are beautiful when you’re young because your mind thinks like that, and there are certain other things that hurt you as well. But, looking back now, I’m very proud of what I achieved as a professional tennis player.

“If you said to me when I was 10 that I would have a lot of injuries and my career would stop at 29 years old but I would get to two grand slam finals, win two Davis Cups and get to No8 in the world, would I have taken that? Of course. Where do I sign?

“Are there things I regret? Of course. But all I can do is learn it from it and make sure I don’t make similar mistakes as a husband and father. It’s okay to make those mistakes as a young person but I don’t want to be making them again now.”

Twenty years ago Philippoussis reached the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. It was his misfortune, however, that on the other side of the net stood a 21 year-old Roger Federer whose straight sets victory earned him the first of eight such triumphs at SW19 and 20 grand slams overall.

Few present that day could have appreciated they were witnessing the start of a period of sustained excellence, with Federer, Rafael Nadal – who made his debut that year – and Djokovic going on to create a three-man dynasty that only now is creaking to a close. Tennis will surely never see its likes again.

“Oh my god, 20 years ago, that seems crazy,” remarks Philippoussis. “It was a very special and proud moment for me, one that 10-year old me would have dreamed about, walking out at Centre Court on the last Sunday to play in the final. Unfortunately I came up short but it was mixed emotions as I was still very proud of what I achieved over that fortnight.

“It was a big moment for Roger and the start of something really special in our game. That era is maybe now coming to an end and people will be sad about that. But we also have to appreciate what these guys did not just for themselves but for tennis, on and off the court. It’s been incredible. The game keeps going and they’ve inspired generations to come who will be the stars of the next 10 to 20 years.”

With Federer retired and Nadal heading the same way, only Djokovic endures. Philippoussis wouldn’t like to hazard a guess when the Serb in this form might also call it a day.

“This is a guy who’s just won his 24th slam at the US Open,” he starts. “Let’s say he is due to practise at 12 o’clock. He’s already in the gym at 10 o’clock and will do 30 to 40 minutes of stretching before his mobilisation stuff. And then he gets on the court, does his training, then goes BACK to the gym, does a warm down, and has his prepared meal and drinks that have to be a certain type.

“When we talk about the ultimate professional – and not taking anything away from Roger and Rafa – Novak has just taken it to another level. He’s so incredibly strict with his own body. He looks at every little percentage of himself to see what he can improve on. You can see he’s already preparing his schedule to go again at the Australian Open next year. It’s incredible.”

And then there is Andy Murray, another ghost from Philippoussis’ past still bashing a ball at the age of 36. Perhaps mindful of his audience, the Australian believes the Scot ought to be considered in the highest regard alongside the Big Three.

“The guy is a multiple grand slam champion, former number one in the world, Davis Cup champion and Olympic singles gold medalist – not too many people have done all of those,” he adds. “He’s got a beautiful family at home but he’s still putting in the work out there. You can tell he’s still in love with the game and always looking to improve. He’s always worn his heart on his sleeve and here in Australia we’ve always loved that about him.”

Philippoussis is looking forward to heading back to Scotland, having won this event when it was held in Gleneagles five years ago. “I really enjoyed my time there before, great crowds and good people. I’m very excited when I got the invitation to come back as I love Scotland.”

Brodies Tennis Invitational featuring Philippoussis, Feliciano Lopez, Xavier Malisse, Marcos Baghdatis, Jo Konta, Laura Robson, Greg Rusedski, Ali Collins and Aidan McHugh takes place on September 28-30 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Full details and tickets from www.brodiestennisinvitational.com