For the Slovenian-born Brit Aljaz Bedene 2016 promised a lot. He was in the ATP top 50 and was on the ascent with a semifinal finish at the Chennai Open.

But once again his off-court troubles followed him and when the ITF rejected his appeal to play Davis Cup for Britain earlier this year, Bedene’s form took a nosedive. He is now back in the city hoping it would yet again help in resurrecting his career.

Bedene initially failed to make the cut both here at Chennai Open and soon to follow Australian Open. However, thanks to player withdrawals, he has managed to get into the main draw at both tournaments.

“Last in in Chennai, Last in in Australia. I guess this will be the lucky year,” says the 2015 Chennai Open finalist.

Speaking about his preparations for the new season after an encouraging start was nipped in the bud, he said: “I had nine long weeks. I stopped my season quite early to just to prepare for the new year as last season wasn’t the best. So it has been quite good. A lot of hard work.”

Tough times

In recent times, Bedene has spent much of his energy chasing his love for “team sport.” Born in Slovenia, he had to wait for seven years to get his British citizenship and just as he got it, ITF’s ruled that a player cannot represent two countries in Davis Cup. Bedene had played three dead rubbers for Slovenia.

He has since moved the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Even as he feels that it has affected him, he says it has been worth it. “I don’t think I made a mistake. You know I still have my chances. But yeah, they did affect me. I was 45 in 2015 and was then actually expecting a positive news. That didn’t happen and I would have to say that affected me especially after Miami. I dropped. You always think you know if I could play, what could happen. As you said, you will have to focus on your career because you can’t do much about it. We will see what happens.”

His immediate goal is to be back in the in top-30 so that he could be seeded at the Grand Slam tournaments.

“That’s the goal. I have changed a few things. I know I always play well in Chennai. So hope Chennai will be a good turnaround for me.”