Andy Murray is not willing to jump into the middle of a Davis Cup row with the final just over three weeks away, but he has made his views as clear as he can on the eligibility of Aljaz Bedene, Britain’s No.2, to play for his adopted country, writes Alix Ramsay in Paris.
Bedene only became a British citizen this year after living in London for the past seven years. Born in Slovenia, he played Davis Cup under the Slovenian flag three times in the past – and under a new International Tennis Federation rule brought in at the start of the season, that means he cannot play for any other country, no matter what his passport says. He is appealing against the new rule and that appeal will be heard on 16 and 17 November. If he wins, he could, then, be picked for Britain’s final against Belgium which starts on 27 November.
Jumping into the team at the last minute for the glory match – Britain have not won the famous trophy since 1936 – could cause major ructions within the team camp and Bedene does not want to do that. But he does want to be eligible for selection now and in the future if needed and if wanted. Murray refused to be drawn into any argument about team selection but his support for Britain’s No 2 in the appeals process was plain.
“It’s not my decision [to select him for the final],” Murray said. “That decision is up to Leon [Smith, the captain], it’s not up to me. The rules are there if he’s eligible. It’s not his fault that it’s taken this long for this process to go through. That’s my feeling. He should [win the appeal]. I think he handed in all the forms way before the end of last year so it isn’t his fault that the rule has changed and also that it’s taken so long. It’s going to be almost a year now so that’s not fair on him.”
Both Murray and Bedene will be in action at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris today: Murray faces Borna Coric, the man who beat him in the Dubai quarter-finals back in February and Bedene will take on John Isner.