Australian tennis star Rafter to play doubles in Adelaide
Tuesday December 23, 2003
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Pat Rafter will play doubles at the Australian Hardcourt Championships in Adelaide next month, but says a full-time comeback to the world circuit is definitely not on the cards.
The two-time US Open champion will play doubles with Josh Eagle at the season-opening event, starting on January 5 at Memorial Drive.
Rafter, 30, contacted tournament director Colin Stubs last weekend requesting a wildcard, stating he needed match practice for a scheduled exhibition clash with Swede Mats Wilander in Townsville in north Queensland on February 2.
"This is an unexpected chance for the people of Adelaide to show their appreciation to a great Australian," Stubs said on Tuesday.
"His presence will add another dimension to a field which is already very solid."
In contacting Stubs, Rafter stressed that the decision to play in Adelaide was not part of a comeback plan.
Argentine David Nalbandian, South Africa's Wayne Ferreira and Briton Greg Rusedski headline the singles event.
Rafter, a former world No.1 and twice beaten Wimbledon finalist, retired from the ATP Tour last January following a 12-month sabbatical to assess his future.
His last official match was Australia's 3-2 loss to France in the Davis Cup final in Melbourne in December 2001.