Wimbledon Day 2 | Edmund wins his first match at The Championships
David Musgrove Photography
A dream came true for Kyle Edmund at Wimbledon but he had to wreck another Brit to do it. And the British No2 put his “heart” into defeating Alex Ward 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 to seal his first win at The Championships at the fifth attempt.
The whole year is so long. So I just try and rationalise it as much as possible and put it into perspective. Like against Wardy, it’s nice to win. But it’s just a tennis match. It’s one round out of seven, which is the realityKyle Edmund
And the British No.2, who now faces 15th seed Gael Monfils, declared: “It’s nice to win in general. Especially just because you are British, it is the one tournament you want to do well in more than any other tournament. More from your heart because you watched this sort of event.”
The Yorkshireman could be painted the villain in unreasonable circles as he spoilt the 60th birth party of his opponent’s mum Susan. And upset a foe who was the lowest ranked qualifier (standing at 869) in any Grand Slam for 19 years. One who had endured a torrid time with injuries over five years, including wrist and ankle trouble, stress fractures in his forearm and a knee problem which necessitated knee surgery.
But there was no room for sentiment.
Edmund, the world No.50, said: “Anyone who’s qualified has played matches. I’ve played Brits in the past. I played Andy a couple times. Played Evo (Dan Evans) a couple times. I’ve been around the guys. It wasn’t so awkward in that sense. Like, I get on well with Wardy. He’s a really nice guy. Get on well with him off the court. Then once you go on the court, you have to get on with it and play for yourself..”
And the crowd – which filled about three quarters of Court No.3 – were understandably split on which one of the home players they should follow.
Edmund said: “It was fine. Unfortunately I’ve been in matches where I’ve been losing and stuff, in front of a British crowd, especially here. When you’re losing, as well, you get down because you’re really wanting to do well. So it was nice just to play with some freedom. We were both getting applause and support.”
Edmund admitted the pressure of being a Brit at a home tournament so revered around the world does bring its pressures
He said: “You really want to do well basically. So maybe you don’t relax into the game as much. Some people really thrive in it. Like you said, it’s individual. I’d lost, like four first rounds and got asked this before the match. What do I do if I lose another one and it’s five? it’s another loss. I just move on. I’m disappointed, but I’m not going to cry over it. There’s more opportunities after that.
“The whole year is so long. So I just try and rationalise it as much as possible and put it into perspective. Like against Wardy, it’s nice to win. But it’s just a tennis match. It’s one round out of seven, which is the reality.
“There’s always some pressure playing tennis through yourself, wanting to win but if I lose, I lost a tennis match, but nothing changes. I still move on. It’s getting the balance.”
Ward, 27, made a flying start but was unable to sustain the consistency required and Edmund’s big serve and powerful groundstrokes ground down a player who deserved a medal just for being out there.
Edmund might consult British and world No.1 Andy Murray, his Davis Cup teammate, on how to face Frenchman Monfils.
He said: “I haven’t watched him play that much. I watched him a little bit when he played Novak (Djokovic) on the grass. Just from knowing him throughout the years, he’s obviously a very good athlete, moves well, makes a lot of balls. He has very, very easy power when he wants to hit it. Sometimes I think he likes to put more balls in play, maybe use his movement to win points. But, you know, it will be tough. He’s obviously made the final last week, playing well. He’s got good confidence. Yeah, just go out there and play really. I mean, whoever it is, I’ll just go and play. I can’t read into it too much.”
Will you speak to Murray about him?
Edmund said: “Possibly. At the same time, same chance I won’t. Just because he’s just getting on with his tournament. I’m getting on with mine. He’s always very approachable. But sometimes I’m happy working things out on my own, speaking to people off court about it. But, yeah, I have asked Andy some stuff before about opponents, but not every time. Maybe if it works out, I will.”
British No.19 Ward was at least able to console himself with the £35,000 in prize money his efforts through qualifying earned him.
The guy deserves every penny after what he has been through.