London - British number two Aljaz Bedene said on Friday he
intends to represent his native Slovenia so he can compete in the Davis Cup and
The 28-year-old, who lives in London, became a British
citizen in March 2015 and among British players the world number 49 is only
behind Andy Murray in the ATP rankings.
He fought an unsuccessful battle to be eligible for Britain
in the Davis Cup and he admits that a desire to compete in the team event, plus
the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, played a big part in his decision.
"I want to share with you that I have informed the ITF
(International Tennis Federation) of my intention to represent Slovenia, my
country of birth, from January 1, 2018," he wrote on Facebook.
"One of my main goals for my career going forward will
be to play in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 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.
"I am also particularly grateful for the support the
LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) has shown me in that time and in fighting my case
for the 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."
Bedene's most recent appeal to the ITF over Davis Cup
eligibility was rejected in March. He was ruled out because he had represented
Slovenia in three ties before switching nationality.
"At this stage in my career, I do not want to miss the
opportunity to compete in the Davis Cup and the Olympics, two events that mean
so much to me and that is what has informed my decision," he said.
Bedene's switch to represent Britain was not universally
popular, with Dan Evans criticising the LTA for its "desperate" efforts
to help him secure eligibility.
Evans, currently serving a suspension after a positive test
for cocaine, told the BBC in May: "I don't think (Bedene) really believes
he's British either. It's nothing against Aljaz. I like him. He's not
confrontational in any way but to me it doesn't sit well if you play for
"I don't feel bad about him, but for me it's a bit
baffling as to why."