A tennis player who has been involved in a long running battle to become eligible to represent Great Britain has confirmed he will switch allegiance back to Slovenia.
Aljaz Bedene had become a British Citizen two years ago but his hopes of competing at international level were frustrated by International Tennis Federation (ITF) rules.
Under the federation’s regulations, he is not entitled to play for Team GB at either the Olympic Games or the Davis Cup – the annual contest otherwise dubbed “The World Cup of Tennis”.
The ITF had brought in a rules change at the start of 2015 which barred players from representing more than one country.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) had supported the 28-year-old in his bid to challenge the system, but having seemingly exhausted efforts, Bedene has reluctantly taken a decision to revert to playing for the country of his birth. He now intends to move back to Eastern Europe and will fight to be selected for the Tokyo Games in 2020.
“I have proudly called Britain my home for the last nine years and so many people there have made me feel welcome both in the UK and abroad,” said the player.
“I am also particularly grateful for the support the LTA have shown me in that time and in fighting my case for GB Davis Cup eligibility.
“It was a dream of mine to be able to compete for a country that has given me so much in the Davis Cup.”
In a statement, the LTA said it understood his decision.
“It is a shame that this case did not warrant an exception, but we absolutely respect Aljaz’s wish to fulfil his international ambitions at both Davis Cup and the Olympics.”
As a player just inside the world’s Top 50, Bedene would have been seen as a strong candidate for selection – particularly since he is seen as an accomplished competitor on clay, which is traditionally Britain’s weakest surface.
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