Aljaz Bedene might give up his dual British nationality
The world no 55 made the shock announcement at Roland Garros that he is thinking of giving up his dual British nationality again in order to play in the Olympics after his fiancee told him she wanted to return home.
Bedene first moved to Britain in 2008 and was given a passport in 2015. However, the ITF have remained adamant that he is unable to participate in the Davis Cup because he had already represented the country of his birth in the competition three times.
Nevertheless, Leon Smith and LTA performance director Simon Timson were courtside at the French Open yesterday as he beat Ryan Harrison convincingly 6-4, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, clearly unaware of his change of heart.
“At the moment I’m representing Great Britain, but I do want to play Olympic Games,” he said. “That’s a dream.
“I don’t know what the rules are, really. I haven’t checked. I guess that means playing for the Davis Cup for them as well.
“I have always been known as Slovenian-born. But, you know, I love Britain. I have spent quite a lot of time there. I’m enjoying it there. I still feel Slovenian and British.”
French Open 2017 pictures Mon, May 29, 2017
Pictures from the French Open 2017, the second tennis Grand Slam of the year.
Play slideshow REUTERS 1 of 9
Garbine Muguruza playing at the French Open
At the moment I’m representing Great Britain, but I do want to play Olympic Games
Olympic qualifying rules say that “all athletes must be in good standing with their national association” in addition to more specific rules demanding participation in at least three Davis Cup ties during the four-year cycle.
The Slovenian tennis federation fought hard to stop Bedene switching allegiances in the first place and while refusing to select him could be overcome provided he proved he was available for matches, the “good standing” stipulation would be a matter for the ITF Olympic Committee.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The LTA were unavailable for comment yesterday but it is hard to imagine after the support they have given Bedene this news will be accepted well at Roehampton.
Ironically, three Union flags were unfurled when he won match point with an ace yesterday – it will be interesting to see the level of support he gets when he faces Jiri Vesely on Wednesday.
British fans will today be behind Jo Konta and Kyle Edmund, when they begin their campaigns against Su-Wei Hseih and Gastao Elias respectively.