Aljaz Bedene puts Davis Cup dream on hold to focus on tennis again

28 May 2017 10:39

Aljaz Bedene has found his form and his love for tennis again after accepting his Great Britain Davis Cup dreams may never be realised.

Bedene switched allegiances from his native Slovenia in 2015 but has so far been unable to represent Great Britain either in Davis Cup or at the Olympics.

The 27-year-old has fallen foul of a rule introduced at the start of 2015 barring players from turning out for two different nations, and his latest legal challenge ended in failure in March.

But independent arbitrator Charles Hollander QC was sympathetic to Bedene's case and left the door ajar for another appeal by saying he hoped the International Tennis Federation would one day change its mind.

Bedene, though, is reluctant to expend more emotional energy on the fight.

He said: "I've just said to myself: 'F*** that and focus on your game.' Because it was ruining me.

"Last year I quit the season and that's why I dropped out of the top 100. Not because I wasn't playing good tennis or anything, I just didn't want to play. Now I'm enjoying it again and it's not because of the Davis Cup.

"Every person has something they really want; that was it for me. Imagine you really want something and can't get it, it's going to affect you, not just sleep wise but everything. It wasn't easy on the mental side.

"I was always hoping before. I always felt there was a next trial. I have to focus on my game. I am 27 years old. I want to do something in tennis.

"I haven't had the chance to speak to (lawyer) Stephen Farrow yet but hopefully I will have the chance. He told me that a solicitor said that there's a chance. There's always a chance, but how big are those chances? So that's why I just put it on the side for the now."

Bedene revealed in January that he considered quitting tennis last year because of the situation and he was still ranked outside the top 100 as recently as March.

But a stunning run since, with three titles on the second-tier Challenger Tour and a run to his second ATP Tour final in Budapest, has elevated him to 52, only seven places below his career high.

Bedene opens his campaign in Paris on Monday against Ryan Harrison of the United States and will hope to match his run from last year, when he surprised himself by making the third round before losing to Novak Djokovic.

"I was shot," he said. "It wasn't easy. I'd played some really bad tennis.

"I've been more consistent this year. It shows if you look at the race (yearly) rankings: top 30. I've had probably only a match or two I didn't play well and I won one of them. I'm feeling good physically and mentally."

And Bedene's good mood was not affected by comments from Dan Evans - the man he recently overtook as British number three - that he does not consider his compatriot to be British.

"Still I'm not allowed to play the Davis Cup so in a way he is number three," said Bedene.

"I think he's got every right to say what he thinks. In a way I agree with him."

Source: PA