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Slovenian Aljaz Bedene to Represent Great Britain


Great Britain has been starved for promising tennis talent on the men's tour outside of Andy Murray, but it appears that a tour veteran might soon be joining its ranks. The BBC is reporting that Slovenian world No. 108 Aljaz Bedene is planning on changing nationalities to represent Great Britain, where he has been based since 2008. If he succeeds, he can represent his new nation in ATP and ITF events any time after February 2015.

Having never won an ATP title, Bedene owns career wins against David NalbandianNikolay Davydenko, Sam Querrey and Stanislas Wawrinka and has been ranked at high as No. 71 in the world. His current ranking would be good enough to put him at Great Britain's No. 2 player behind Murray. The 24-year-old moved to the United Kingdom in March 2008 and has applied for a passport.


Bedene would not be the first player to change allegiances to the Union Jack. Greg Rusedski, who has an English mother, switched allegiances from Canada to the UK in 1995. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world in 1997, after reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the final of the US Open. On the women's side, Australian-born Johanna Konta became a British citizen in 2012 and started representing them thereafter. 2007 Australian Open boys' champion Brydan Klein also began representing Great Britain over Australia in 2013.

Nationality changes have been common on both the ATP and WTA tours in recent years. This season, Crimean-born Oleksandr Nedovyesov began representing Kazakhstan over Ukraine, while Georgian Anna Tatishvili became an American citizen and began representing the USA in March. While these changes are normally seamless, some other personalities in British tennis aren't taking too kindly to the murmurings of Bedene's switch.

World No. 130 Dan Evans, who's often sparked controversy with his outspoken opinions, tweeted his thoughts (which have since been deleted) on the matter early Friday morning: "
So a guy is becoming British who has already played for his country. Doesn't quite sound right to me!"

Should Bedene's nationality change become a reality, it is likely that he'll be competing with both Evans and James Ward for a spot on the nation's Davis Cup team. 
If his application is successful then his new citizenship will take effect just in time for Great Britain's World Group tie in March.

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