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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 08:39 PM   #50
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Re: irish tennis

Indenpendent - 12th December

HOT on the heels of the shock change of dates for the Fed Cup comes news of a major blow to Ireland's prospects in next year's competition.


Ireland team boss Garry Cahill has just discovered that he will be unable to call on Bulgarian-born Mariyana Levova for the seven-country event in Tallin, Estonia on the week commencing January 28.

Cahill had expected that Navan-based Levova would be cleared by the ITF to line out for Ireland. But his hopes were dashed on learning last weekend that the player's naturalisation process has not yet been formalised by the Irish authorities.

"Mariyana has been living with her parents in Ireland for four to five years now, and we didn't envisage that there would be any problems with her playing in the Fed Cup," explained Cahill.

"But apparently the immigration authorities in this country have not completed their work in Mariyana's case. And until that happens, the ITF cannot give clearance for her to play for Ireland in the Fed Cup.

"It's a major disappointment for us, as we feel that Mariyana would have had a lot to offer to the team," he added.

Promise

Since coming to live in Ireland, Levova has underlined her rich promise by winning the National U-18 title three times.

To add to Cahill's problems, Emma Murphy is currently sidelined with injury.

The Ireland supremo is hoping that Dubliner Rachael Dillon, who commenced a four-year tennis scholarship at San Francisco's Berkeley University last August, will be available to play in her third Fed Cup campaign.

On the plus side, national No 1 Kelly Liggan, who missed out in 2005 and 2006 because of tournament commitments has confirmed that she will be available for the Tallin event.

MARK BOWTELL produced the best performance of the four-strong Irish team in the ITF U-18 event in Minsk, Belarus.

The Greystones lad reached the semi-finals of the boys' singles, and Limerick's Sam Barry made the second round.

But Mark's sister Amy and Mariyana Levova suffered first round defeats in the girls' singles.
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