BEVERLEY’S Kyle Edmund will fight it out with James Ward for a place in Great Britain’s Davis Cup final team against Belgium after a decision on Aljaz Bedene’s appeal was deferred until March.
British No 2 Bedene is currently ineligible to play for his adopted country because of a change in the rules in January barring players from competing for two different nations.
Bedene, who has lived in Britain since 2008, had previously played three dead rubbers for his native Slovenia.
He travelled to Prague with a lawyer from the Lawn Tennis Association to present his case to the International Tennis Federation Board, and had he been successful he could have come into contention for the final.
Instead the 26-year-old must wait another four months to find out the verdict, a full year after he was granted a British passport.
An ITF statement said a delay until its next Board of Directors meeting, on March 20-21 next year, would “ensure that the rights of all parties are considered.”
Bedene wrote on Twitter: “Disappointed that the hearing with the ITF was postponed, I will keep my head held high. Hopefully more positive news are coming in March. Thank you everyone in British tennis for your help.”
The LTA called for the rescheduled hearing to take place ahead of Britain’s first-round tie against Japan from March 4-6 next year.
Andy Murray will lead Britain’s bid for a first Davis Cup title since 1936 in Ghent starting next Friday.
Jamie Murray is likely to again partner his brother in the doubles rubber, with fellow doubles specialist Dominic Inglot also included as back-up.
Yorkshireman Edmund was named ahead of Ward in the official four-man team.
But the LTA insist that was purely because he is higher ranked and does not necessarily mean he will play.
Smith does not have to finalise his four-man line-up until a week tomorrow and will see how Edmund and Ward perform in practice on clay at the Flanders Expo before making a final decision.
Ward has been a key figure in the team, twice claiming vital wins in matches against the USA.
But 20-year-old Edmund really pushed himself forward by winning a Challenger title on clay in Buenos Aires on Sunday and could make his Davis Cup debut.
World No 16 David Goffin is Belgium’s star player.