January 7, 2010 / 5:04 PM / 9 years ago

Tennis-Santoro to make record-breaking appearance in Melbourne

PARIS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, who retired last year, will make a final and record-breaking appearance at the Australian Open this month.

“I want to extend to 70 my record number of participations in grand slam tournaments and become the only player to have played in four decades in grand slams,” the 37-year-old said said in a statement on the website of French sports paper L’Equipe (lequipe.fr).

“This appearance doesn’t call into question the decision I took to end my professional career on the ATP. It’s a very personal approach which doesn’t mean anything else and particularly not a comeback,” he added.

Santoro qualifies for the Australian Open because he is still ranked 68th in the world.

The pocket-sized Frenchman played his final tournament at the Paris Masters in November, losing in the first round to American James Blake.

“I have had lots of fun but now it’s time to take a break,” he said at the time. “I don’t feel sad, I even feel relieved in a way. It has been great but I was finding it more difficult to train.”

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 18. (Reporting by Jean-Paul Couret, Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story e-mail sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com) (jean-paul.couret@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 53 70; Reuters Messaging: jean-paul.couret.reuters.com@reuters.net; For the new Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sports)

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