How can a tennis player play for two countries?

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the governing body of men’s tennis whereas the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) regulates women’s tennis. The rulebooks of both associations suggest that no player at a given time represent two nations. However, a player can request a change in their nationality based on a certain set of rules.

The criteria for a player to change their nationality is different for both men and women. While the WTA has a clear section dedicated to a player’s nationality. The ATP on the other hand paraphrases succinctly their criteria under the representation of a player at the United Cup.

According to the WTA, if a player wishes to change their nationality, they must submit their application before the start of the new tour year. They have to submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport of the country she wishes to represent along with her annual player form.
  • A birth certificate has to be submitted if a passport is unavailable.
  • An exceptional case best judged by the WTA.

If a player submits their proposal to the WTA after the new season has started, then the effort is in most cases futile. Only in the most extraordinary cases would the WTA intervene.

According to the ATP, the player has to apply for a change in nationality on the ATP database before the date of entry of the United Cup. In other cases, the player has to present their case in front of the ATP or WTA. The following things needed to be listed in front of the decision-making panel:

  • Representation of the player for the nation they wish to represent in previous editions of the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup, or Olympics.
  • The player has a genuine connection with the country they wish to represent.

Eventually, the final decision rests with the ATP and WTA.

Some notable tennis players who represented two nations include Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Mansour Bahrami, Dustin Brown, Aljaz Bedene, Cameron Norrie, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Yulia Putintseva.

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