Melbourne: Andy Murray will play an exhibition match with Croatia`s Marin Cilic at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne Thursday as a warm up before next week`s Australian Open, the invitational tournament`s director said Tuesday.
Murray played a tune-up match against Sam Querrey of the United States last year at the leafy Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club before making the final at Melbourne Park, where he was beaten by Roger Federer.
"He will play a match with Cilic at the end of the draw on Thursday, subject to weather conditions," tournament director Colin Stubs said.
The exhibition offers a re-match of the fiercely contested semi-final with Cilic at last year`s Australian Open, in which Murray came back from a set down to win in four.
The weather could yet rain on Murray`s parade, however, with showers forecast throughout the four-day tournament which starts Wednesday.
Murray has replicated the preparations that took him to the final at Melbourne Park last year, playing the Hopman Cup in Perth after an intensive training camp in Miami.
As last year, Murray`s decision to play the Hopman Cup rather than compete for points at an ATP tournament has seen his world ranking slip from fourth to fifth, potentially costing him a more favourable draw.
Swede Robin Soderling snatched the number four ranking after beating American Andy Roddick in the final of the Brisbane International last week.
"I was seeded five for the Australian Open last year and managed to get to the final so I don`t think it makes a big difference," Murray said on the sidelines of a charity function Monday.
Murray`s exhibition match provides a crowd-drawing sideshow for the invitational tournament at Kooyong, where Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic headlines an eight-man field.
Defending champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain, last year`s Australian Open semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and Australian former world number one Lleyton Hewitt will also compete at the tournament which guarantees entrants three matches on the same surface used at Melbourne Park.