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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tennis Coach Waits for U.S. Visa

Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev said Monday that a processing delay in his U.S. visa had left the women's national team stuck in the United States without a coach ahead of a crucial match next week.

Tarpishchev said the holdup could cost the country's Federation Cup squad victory in its July 14 to July 15 semifinal matchup with the United States next week in Stowe, Vermont.

"It's a nightmare," Tarpishchev said. "The whole team is in Vermont without a coach. I don't know what they will do."

Russian citizens have long complained about difficulties in obtaining U.S. visas, though consular officials have noted strides in recent years to speed up the processing of applications and a decline in the number of visa denials.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said the consulate had received Tarpishchev's nonimmigrant visa application and that it was "still being processed in Washington."

The team's No. 2 coach, Alexander Volkov, is not making the trip, leaving the team in the hands of a reserve coach, Tarpishchev said.

"But we should be there," he said.

Tarpishchev said he had hoped to take a two-hour direct flight from Guatemala — where he was participating in an International Olympic Committee meeting — to the United States last week.

"Instead I had to fly 15 hours back to Moscow and wait here for my visa," he added. The team flew out early Monday without him.

Tarpishchev is a member of the IOC and was in Guatemala for the committee's conference last week, where Sochi was chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. He did not take part in the vote.

Tarpishchev, who dominates the tennis scene in Russia, said "delays on the part of Washington" would "seriously hamper the team's preparations."

If he hopes to see — let alone prepare and coach — the team at the match, Tarpishchev must get his visa in the next four days.

Tarpishchev's teams have twice won the Fed Cup, the most prestigious team event in women's tennis: in 2004 and 2005. He also coached Russia's men's team to Davis Cup titles in 2002 and 2006.

Tennis in Russia became immensely popular after former President Boris Yeltsin took to the courts with infectious zest during the 1990s.

Tarpishchev, never a top player himself, was Yeltsin's personal coach.