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The adidas International is staged in Sydney, but will feature a Spanish flavor in January. Tennis Masters Cup runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero has joined compatriots Carlos Moya and Albert Costa in committing to the Australian Open tune-up tournament, which is scheduled for January 5-11th, 2003.

The 22-year-old Roland Garros runner-up pushed defending champion Lleyton Hewitt to five sets before falling to Hewitt in the final of yesterday's Tennis Masters Cup, 7-5, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Tournament organizers believe they have assembled one of the strongest fields in the history of the adidas International. In addition to the Spanish trio, former No. 1 Marat Safin and Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake will play in the eight-man event.

Three of the seven confirmed starters in the tournament — Costa, Moya and Safin — are former Grand Slam champions.

The top-ranked Hewitt — who started and ended the 2001 season with Sydney triumphs, winning the adidas International and ending the year by capturing the Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney — will not play the event in January. Hewitt will instead compete at the Hopman Cup. Last January, Hewitt contracted a case of the chicken pox, which contributed to his upset loss to Alberto Martin in the opening-round of the Australian Open. In an effort to save his strength for the one Slam in which he has never reached the quarterfinals, Hewitt has reduced his January schedule.
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