Organisers of the rain-hit Marlboro Championships will be giving out about 2,500 free tickets for today's proposed singles final between Australian Patrick Rafter and American Vincent Spadea. Rain washed out play yesterday and tournament director Brian Catton said fans who bought tickets for the final would receive a full refund. He added that free entry would be permitted on a first-come, first-served basis to spectators who want to watch the final, which has been rescheduled for 2.30 pm today, weather permitting. 'Ticket holders for today will receive a full refund,' said Catton. 'Tomorrow, anybody who wants to watch it can do so. 'If, for example, the stadium is full by 2 pm, then we will close the gates.' The estimated 1,000 corporate patrons will be able to hold on to their tickets for today. Catton said that about 2,500 tickets had been sold for yesterday which means about $1.4 million worth of tickets would have to be refunded. 'We stress the importance for spectators to keep their ticket stubs and arrangements for collection of refunds will be announced in newspapers shortly,' added Catton, who said that the tournament had already been insured against possible rain. It is believed that yesterday was the first time in the history of Hong Kong professional tennis that rain forced the postponement of a final. In the early 70s, the then Hong Kong Open had to be cancelled altogether because of bad weather. Should rain continue today and no play is possible, the singles finalists will receive US$100,000 each. Canadian Grant Connell and Zimbabwe's Byron Black are scheduled to play Australians Andrew Florent and Joshua Eagle in the doubles final, which will be played immediately after the Rafter-Spadea match. Catton admitted that the early exits of the two top seeds, world number one Pete Sampras and third-ranked Thomas Muster may have been a blessing in disguise. 'We are quite lucky,' said Catton. 'This was to be Rafter's last tournament of the year before he goes back to Australia to rest before the Australian Open. 'Spadea was going back to Florida. So we were lucky they did not have to go to another tournament. 'If Sampras and Muster were in the final, we could not have postponed it to the Monday. There were, however, some problems with the doubles players.' Sampras and Muster are both taking part in the Super 9 tournament in Stuttgart this week. On a lighter note, organisers should have seen the omens with the appearances of both former tournament director Ken Catton and Wimbledon referee Alan Mills. The standing joke in Hong Kong tennis is that it rains whenever Ken Catton appears in a tournament. Having left the territory two years ago, Catton returned this year for the event. Mills is also famous in Wimbledon circles for being somewhat of a rain man. Said one official: 'We should have expected this with both Ken and Alan in town.' Meanwhile, Connell was not too worried about getting his hair wet in the rain because he did not have any. The 31-year-old made a bet with Florent that if both made it through to the doubles final, Connell would let the Australian cut his hair.