Rome title the most special for new Brit Aljaz Bedene

Aljaz Bedene in action

Aljaz Bedene in action - Credit: Archant

Aljaz Bedene may have won 10 career titles already but following his 11th title, but first in the red, white and blue of Great Britain, he feels like the start of a new beginning.

The Slovenia-born ace, who lives in WGC, was granted UK citizenship last month having lived in Hertfordshire for the best part of seven years.

Barely a month after receiving his passport and paperwork in at an official ceremony in Hatfield, the 25-year-old won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Rome, beating rising star Adam Pavlasek in straight sets in the final, something Bedene will never forget.

Gosling Tennis Academy member Bedene told the WHT: “It was a very special moment.

“It is my first title as a British player, so in a way it felt like a first title. Hopefully I can use the momentum and play well in the upcoming events, and especially those in the UK.”

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As world ranked 77, Bedene automatically took up the role of British No.2 behind Andy Murray.

However, doubts remain about his potential involvement in GB’s future Davis Cup plans due to a change in International Tennis Federation legislation, meaning players who have represented one country, cannot switch allegiances thereafter.

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Nevertheless, Bedene is solely focussed on representing GB to the best of his ability.

He continued: “I definitely feel very inspired.

“I have been living in the UK for a long time, people here have supported me all the way, and now I want to give something back, make people happy, and represent my new home in the best possible manner.

“I heard that some players did not like that I was given a chance to play for GB but I can honestly say, I have only received warm and welcoming messages since I was officially granted citizenship.”

Bedene, who has never been past the first round of any of the four Grand Slams, still remains a little way off the world’s top 32 ranked players, but he believes a spot in the top 50 is a realistic aim by the end of 2015.

A good run at this year’s Wimbledon, buoyed by what will now be a home crowd, would definitely boost his aspirations of rocketing up the rankings.

He said: “Wimbledon will be a highlight for me.

“It will be an emotional time and I will do all I can to perform at my best.”

While many of his fellow top 100 players will choose Queens Club as their warm-up route for SW19, as Bedene himself has done in the past, this summer he is using Liverpool as a platform for grass-court success before the south London spectacular.

He said: “I decided, to do well on grass, it would help to play a few matches.

“In Liverpool, the format allows me this opportunity, so that hopefully I can gain some confidence on grass and then I will travel down to Nottingham and hopefully have a decent run there before the big one at Wimbledon.”

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