LTA backing Aljaz Bedene's bid to represent Great Britain in Davis Cup

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Football News

The Lawn Tennis Association is ready to continue the fight to enable Aljaz Bedene to play Davis Cup tennis for Great Britain.

The 26-year-old is currently barred from representing his adopted country in the Davis Cup or the Olympics because of a rule introduced in 2015 preventing players from competing for two different nations.

Bedene played three dead rubbers for his native Slovenia between 2010 and 2012.

He had hoped the International Tennis Federation board would deem his case exceptional when it was presented to them on Sunday but they upheld the ruling of the Davis Cup Committee.

Bedene spoke at the hearing via Skype from the United States, where it was the middle of the night and hours before he was due to play in the final of a tournament. He lost 6-1 6-1.

The British number two was represented in person in Moldova by LTA lawyer Stephen Farrow, who has supported him throughout the process.

Farrow is now waiting to receive the written reasons for the decision from the ITF before considering what the next move will be.

Farrow told Press Association Sport: " He is definitely keen (to carry on) and we are as well because we really believe in him and we really believe the right and fair thing to do is to enable him to play for Britain.

"He's got a British passport, he's just bought a house with his girlfriend, he's probably going to get married here. This is his country and it has been for a long period of time.

"We are keen to work with him and identify any avenues we've got. Once we've got the written reasons we'll probably move as quickly as we can to decide.

"The last thing we want is to have any more uncertainty hanging over Aljaz. It's difficult for him to focus on his tennis and we want to try to protect him as much as we can."

Quite where the LTA and Bedene go next remains to be seen. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is a potential option but an expensive one.

Farrow said: "We genuinely are looking at all options in terms of what we can do next.

"In theory CAS could be an option but we need to consider what the practicalities of that are because CAS would tend to rule on issues to do with procedure so we would need to really look into the merits of that.

"To go to CAS is quite an undertaking, I don't think it's something we would want to do unless we thought we had a realistic prospect of success. There are other options."

Bedene's case centres on the speed with which the rule was introduced.

Resident in Hertfordshire since 2008, he had already begun the process of applying for a British passport when the rule change was voted through by national federations - including the LTA - at the ITF AGM in October 2014.

It came into force at the start of January last year, with Bedene granted his passport in March.

"He was eligible to apply for it earlier in 2014 and he was in the process of putting stuff together," said Farrow, who is also tournament director of the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club.

"We'd actually had contact about it a couple of years before that but obviously there was no colossal rush. He didn't do anything wrong at all.

"Suddenly in October it was, 'oh my goodness', not only have you got to apply before December, you've actually got to have citizenship before December, and that's almost impossible in the circumstances because there's so much you need to do.

"It actually ended up being done relatively quickly but it just wasn't quick enough."

An initial appeal was rejected last May and Bedene and Farrow then travelled to Prague for an ITF board meeting in November only to be told their case would not be heard fully until March.

Bedene put aside the disappointment to win his first-round match at the Miami Open on Thursday.

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