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Santoro To Play Australian Open

Melbourne, Australia

Fabrice Santoro© Getty ImagesSantoro officially retired after a first-round loss at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris in November.

French veteran Fabrice Santoro, who retired from the ATP World Tour in November, has announced he'll compete in the Australian Open which begins in Melbourne on January 18.

According to his official Web site, the 37-year-old's motivation is to make his 70th career Grand Slam appearance and to become the only player to have competed in a major in four different decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s).

"This decision does not affect my announcement to retire as a professional player," Santoro said.

"This is just a very personal thing. There is nothing else to it, and it certainly is not a comeback."

Santoro, winner of six singles and 24 doubles titles on the ATP World Tour, is still ranked No. 68 in singles. He officially retired after a first-round loss to James Blake at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris in November.

An Australian Open singles quarter-finalist in 2006 - his best singles result at a major - Santoro is a two-time former doubles champion in Melbourne, winning consecutive titles in 2003 and 2004 with compatriot Michael Llodra.

His career-first Grand Slam singles appearance was a first-round loss to David Wheaton at Roland Garros in 1989.

"Tennis is my life, my passion. My decision to retire did not mean I was going to throw my racquets into a cupboard," Santoro added.

"And I will continue to play in exhibition matches and doubles if I feel I am still at a good enough level to do so."

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