Davis Cup — Alex Bogomolov Jr. ruled eligible to play for Russia

SEVILLE, Spain — Alex Bogomolov Jr. will play for Russia instead of the United States after the International Tennis Federation approved the switch Thursday — a decision the U.S. Tennis Association found disappointing.

Bogomolov, born in Moscow, has represented the U.S. since turning professional in 2002 but has never played at senior level in the Davis Cup. He is listed by the ATP as Russia’s top-ranked player at No. 34, one spot ahead of Nikolay Davydenko.

He was the fourth-ranked American.

“The USTA has been a longtime supporter of Alex Bogomolov through direct financial grants as well as coaching and training. We are disappointed with the ruling of the ITF’s Davis Cup Committee, but respect its decision,” the USTA said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “We understand Alex’s decision and hope he recognizes the amount of resources and commitment we have provided to him over the years.”

U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier noted Bogolomov’s ascent in the rankings, and called him “really a factor” on the tour. Still, Courier said Bogolomov does not figure in his Davis Cup plans.

“He hasn’t factored into my thoughts for what our team is and will be,” Courier said on a conference call. “I don’t really see a scenario where he would be playing for the United States. So I wish him well.”

A Davis Cup Committee decided Bogomolov’s case met 2012 regulations allowing national federations three months instead of six before a match to submit a request for a player of dual nationality to represent the country. The committee met in Seville, site of the Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina beginning Friday.

Russia submitted a request in October, meaning Bogomolov is eligible to play in the first round of the Davis Cup against Austria from Feb. 10-12. In addition, he could play for Russia at the 2012 Olympics, but that would also require approval from the ITF.

ATP players recently voted Bogomolov as most improved tour player after he rose from No. 166 at the end of 2010 to a career-high No. 33 in November.

Bogomolov moved to Mexico with his family when he was 9 and then to Florida in 1992. He is still based in Boca Raton.

His father, Alex Bogomolov, is a renowned tennis coach in the former Soviet Union, who coached Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andrei Medvedev among others.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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