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Wimbledon: Bedene planning to continue hitting the high notes

By Paul Newman

Published 02/07/2015

Big challenge: Aljaz Bedene faces No 22 seed Viktor Troicki in the second round of Wimbledon
Big challenge: Aljaz Bedene faces No 22 seed Viktor Troicki in the second round of Wimbledon

It remains to be seen whether Aljaz Bedene or his fiancée will be the first to enjoy widespread fame in Britain, but at this rate the World No 75 appears to be edging ahead.

Bedene, who was born in Slovenia but was granted British citizenship earlier this year, beat Radek Stepanek here on Tuesday to record his first Wimbledon victory and will today attempt to topple the No 22 seed, Viktor Troicki, in the second round.

Bedene lives in Hertfordshire with his fiancée, a singer whose stage name is Kimalie. She used to be a member of Slovenia's equivalent of the Spice Girls but now works in Britain with the musician and tennis fanatic Jeff Wayne, of War of the Worlds fame.

"They will probably be releasing a song or two this year," Bedene said. "She has three demos finished and they are picking the best one. And when Jeff heard them he said they were brilliant."

The singing career has gone on hold for the moment as Kimalie supports 25-year-old Bedene through his first Wimbledon campaign with the letters 'GB' after his name.

Winning his first Wimbledon match as a British player was an emotional moment.

"I had tears in my eyes and usually that does not happen," Bedene said of his five-set victory over Stepanek.

"I tried to stay focused for the last game and when I won, it just came out of me. I went a little bit squeaky-voiced."

Bedene had no complaints about playing in the humble surroundings of Court Eight.

"I know you have to prove yourself here," he said.

"It was still the biggest so far for me and I was really happy that I got in a few of my friends. Thank you to Wimbledon."

He added: "I know Wimbledon is the most important tournament for the Brits and I feel really happy I won. I can't imagine what that will bring.

"I just want to focus on the next round. Playing on the TV will help me and perhaps people will get to know me a little bit more."

Bedene, who has lived in Britain for seven years, said he had barely been recognised walking into Wimbledon each day.

However, he insisted: "I still don't want to be too well-known though. I want to be able to enjoy my personal life."

Andy Murray gave the new British No 2 some advice about playing Stepanek.

"He said he does not finish his volleys, he only puts them in play. And he said he hits balls down the line. Thanks Andy!" said Bedene.

Although he is registered as a British player, Bedene is unable to represent the country in the Davis Cup because he played in three "dead" rubbers for Slovenia between 2010 and 2012. However, the Lawn Tennis Association is appealing against the ruling.

Belfast Telegraph

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