Roger Federer will not warm up for the Australian Open at this week's Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, prompting organisers to target Briton Andy Murray for the vacant eighth spot in the invitational field.
World No1 Federer, who thrashed compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka to win the title last year, had decided to rest before next week's first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park, confirmed tournament director Colin Stubs today.
Organisers had pledged to hold a place for the 15-times grand slam champion until tomorrow, a day before the the tournament starts.
Aside from missing the 2008 event with glandular fever, Federer has been a fixture at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club over the past six years, using it as a springboard to claiming three Australian Open titles.
Federer's management did not cite any reason for his decision to rest, but organisers had only rated him a "slightly better than 50-50 chance" to play, Stubs said.