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Red tape not halting Lepchenko's determination to make it on tour

She had to hop on a bicycle and her father had to strap on a pair of in-line skates just to make the pilgrimage to the local practice courts. But that paled in comparison to the bureaucratic hindrances Varvara Lepchenko has overcome just to have a shot on the WTA Tour.

Originally Published: March 6, 2008
By Bonnie D. Ford | ESPN.com

A lot of determined young tennis players have traveled strange roads to get to the pro ranks, but relatively few have commuted to public courts on in-line skates.

And that wasn't even the most difficult part of Varvara Lepchenko's journey. The 21-year-old from Uzbekistan defected at age 15 during a junior tournament in Florida, accompanied by her father and older sister, and hoped her mother would follow shortly. The family applied for political asylum, citing prejudice against Christians ...

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