March 23, 2016

LONDON (AP) Slovenian-born tennis player Aljaz Bedene has lost his appeal to be able to compete for Britain in Davis Cup.

The International Tennis Federation said Wednesday that its board of directors ruled that the 26-year-old Bedene did not meet the eligibility requirements.

Bedene became a British citizen in March 2015 and represents Britain on the ATP Tour. He is currently ranked 57th.

Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, which backed Bedene's appeal, expressed disappointment at the ruling.

''The LTA has fully supported him in his endeavor to represent the country he rightfully and proudly calls home,'' LTA chief executive Michael Downey said. ''We will consider the options and continue to consult with Aljaz.''

Bedene said he was ''very sad'' about the ITF's ruling.

''I will have to assess my situation now before I decide on what steps to take next,'' he said.

Bedene's bid to play for Britain was rejected because of a rule brought in at the start of 2015 that prevents players competing for more than one country in Davis Cup. Bedene played three times for Slovenia between 2010 and 2012.

British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith had hoped to be able to pick Bedene for the team, which won the competition last year. Bedene could have been in line to be selected as Britain's No. 2 singles player behind Andy Murray.

The ITF also rejected an appeal by Moldovan-born Maxim Dubarenco to play for Belarus in Davis Cup.

However, the ITF said it made an ''exception'' to allow Russian-born Daria Gavrilova to play for Australia in Fed Cup.

The 34th-ranked Gavrilova switched nationalities in December 2015.

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