Sampras joins exhibition field

Former world No 1 Pete Sampras was confirmed today as a starter for the January 12-15 Kooyong Classic exhibition tennis tournament, a major tune-up for the Australian Open.

Former world No 1 Pete Sampras was confirmed today as a starter for the January 12-15 Kooyong Classic exhibition tennis tournament, a major tune-up for the Australian Open.

His entry means the Rebound Ace event will boast the world's top four players, a field that promoter Colin Stubs said was the best in its 12-year history.

"It's pretty handy - you add Pat Rafter and an exciting youngster like Nicolas Kiefer in there as well and we think it's the best collection of players you'd see in a men's tournament outside a Super Nine or a Grand Slam," Stubs said.

World No 1 Andre Agassi and No 2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov will head the eight-man field, with the final player likely to be named before Christmas.

Stubs said Rafter had contacted him last week and remained keen to play as he recovers from his shoulder surgery. Thomas Enqvist and Richard Kracjicek are the other players confirmed for the tournament.

The Australian Open begins January 17 in Melbourne.

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