Aljaz Bedene Pondering Nationality Swap In Chase Of Olympic Dream - UBITENNIS
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Aljaz Bedene Pondering Nationality Swap In Chase Of Olympic Dream

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Alijaz Bedene (zimbio.com)

Aljaz Bedene’s victory at Roland Garros on Monday has brought both joy and dismay to the British tennis contingent. The mixed reaction wasn’t due to his performance, but what he said after the match.

 

Facing Ryan Harrison in the first round at Roland Garros, the British No.3 prevailed 6-4, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, to become the first Brit to win a match in this year’s tournament. The triumph comes during what has been a impressive clay season for the 27-year-old. After winning an Italian Challenger title, Bedene reached the final of the Bucharest Open followed by pushing Milos Raonic to three sets in Istanbul.

“I worked really hard in the preseason, and the way I’m playing now, it suits clay court. I’m using the body more. I’m more physical.” Bedene said about his current form.

Whilst Bedene enjoys a surge on the men’s tour, he faces an uncertain future. Talking to the British media in Paris on Monday, he hinted at the prospect of returning back to his Slovenian nationality. He has lived in the UK since 2008 with his wife and was formally allowed to represent Great Britain in 2015.

“At the moment I’m representing Great Britain, but I do want to play Olympic Games. That’s I think a dream for every athlete. I’ll have to see on that what can be done.” He admitted.

Bedene’s response comes after what has been a lengthy argument with the International Tennis Federation. According to the rules, players are ineligible to play in the Davis Cup if they have already played for another country. The rule change prompted a legal challenge from Bedene (backed by British tennis), who argued that he applied to play in the competition prior to the rule change. This case has been dismissed on numerous occasions.

Due to his exemption from the Davis Cup, the player from Ljubljana is not eligible for the Olympic Games. Under current rules, players must participate is a set amount of team ties for their country in order to qualify.

The Dan Evans criticism

In recent week’s Bedene has had his British Nationality questioned by Dan Evans, who believe he shouldn’t be counted in his country’s ranking system. With Bedene’s removal, Evans would become the British No.3.

“I don’t think he really believes he’s British either,” Evans said during this year’s Madrid Open.
“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 another country.
“I don’t feel bad about him, but for me it’s a bit baffling as to why.”

Despite the words, the 27-year-old hasn’t aggressively hit back. This week in Paris, he described himself as ‘both Slovenian and British.’

A switch already in progress?

Signs of Bedene’s slow return to Slovenian tennis have begun to emerge. Amid rumours of a move back of his homeland, the world No.52 confirmed that his wife hopes to return back to Slovenia.

“I’ve still have a house in England, in Welling. At the moment for the clay season, I spent quite a lot of time in Slovenia. My fiancee said she wants to move back. She wants to have her career there.” He explained.
“I’m travelling a lot, so it’s not easy. But, you know, I do want to spend as much time as I can with her.”

It is not the first time that Bedene has hinted about the switch. On May 24th he conducted an interview with Radiotelevizija Slovenija, the national broadcaster of Slovenia. During the interview, he also talked about his desire to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Amidst the storm brewing, Bedene will continue his French Open campaign against Jiri Vesely in the second round on Wednesday.

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match

The Italian says he regrets using the ‘stupid expression’ during his third round clash.

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Fabio Fognini said the heat got to him during his third round clash with Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught saying a homophobic slur at himself.

 

The world No.31 lost to Medvedev in three sets during what was incredibly hot and humid conditions with both players taking a 10-minute break after the second set under the extreme weather policy. Frustrated with how his match was going, Fognini was caught by broadcasters saying the word ‘frocio’ which is an anti-gay term in his native language. The exact phrase he used was ‘Frocio, sei un frocio’ which was directed towards himself only.

Following his Olympic exit, the 34-year-old issued a statement on social media in which he apologised for making those remarks during his match. In a post uploaded onto his Instagram story which had a rainbow theme background, Fognini reiterated that he supports the LGBT community and the use of the slur was done in the heat of the moment.

The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote.
“In today’s (Wednesday’s) match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

It is not the first time a player has been caught using a homophobic term during a tennis match this year. Earlier in the season Denmark’s Holger Rune was fined for a term he used during a Challenger match. The former world No.1 junior player later apologised for those comments.

Unlike the women’s Tour, there are currently no publicly out players in men’s tennis and only a select few have come out in the past. In June former top 100 player Brain Vahaly, who came out as gay after retiring from the sport, spoke to UbiTennis about his experience.

Despite his loss, Fognini was the only player from his country to reach the third round of the men’s draw in Tokyo. Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded two places higher than him, lost in the second round to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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