Aljaz Bedene set to learn GB Davis Cup fate

By Russell FullerBBC tennis correspondent
Aljaz Bedene
Bedene played in tree dead rubbers for Slovenia between 2010 and 2012

British number two Aljaz Bedene will learn on Tuesday whether he is free to represent Great Britain in the Davis Cup - and has not ruled out playing in the final against Belgium next week.

The 26-year-old played in the Davis Cup for Slovenia three times before gaining UK citizenship in March.

A Davis Cup rule change now prevents players representing a second country.

Bedene is appealing on the grounds his passport application was lodged before the rule changed at the start of 2015.

When the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) board of directors hears the appeal in Prague on Tuesday, it will learn how Bedene's coaching team has been asking other tour players for their opinion.

"So many players said I should play, so that's one of the big things," Bedene told BBC Sport.

"I've been looking forward to this day for a long time now. I know it's a tough case to win but I'm still confident."

Bedene, who has lived in the UK since 2008, will be accompanied to the appeal by the Lawn Tennis Association's legal director, Stephen Farrow, and his agent Allon Khakshouri.

June 2014: Bedene explains why he wants to play for Britain

They have been granted a 30-minute slot to present their case and, assuming a decision is reached on Tuesday, the verdict will be released later the same day.

If Bedene is successful he could yet be selected for the Davis Cup final against Belgium, which takes place in Ghent from 27-29 November.

"I'm dreaming that the appeal goes through first and then I'll be dreaming of playing, but I don't want to push myself into the team because the team spirit has been as great as ever," he said.

"Before I get that call I would love to speak to the other guys and see what they think of me joining the team. So we'll see - step by step."

Who should be Britain's number two in the Davis Cup final?
BBC Sport analyst Tim Henman: "Aljaz Bedene would get my pick but I don't think he will be available. James Ward has done very well and had some big wins and so would probably get my nod. For Kyle Edmund to make his debut in the final is hard. But I would be comfortable with either player. Kyle has won on clay and qualified for the French Open, while James has proven he can play in the Davis Cup arena."

Andy Murray has already made it clear he would be happy to play alongside Bedene if British captain Leon Smith opted to select him.

"It's not his fault that it's taken so long for this process to go through, that's my feeling," Murray explained at the Paris Masters earlier this month.

"I think he handed in all the forms way before the end of last year, so it isn't his fault that the rules changed and the process has taken almost a year now - so that's not fair on him."

The change in regulations came into force less than four months after they were agreed, and those close to Bedene maintain they have always been promised a sympathetic hearing because of the special circumstances of his case.

The rule change was, however, voted through with the overwhelming support of member nations, and to grant Bedene a special exemption could fatally undermine a principle which retains solid support within the organisation.

A freshly elected ITF board might give the British number two cause for optimism. When David Haggerty took over as ITF president in September, nine new members were welcomed on to the 13 strong board.

This is the final appeal Bedene can make to the ITF, although his management company has spoken in the past about the possibility of taking the case on to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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