Eastbourne | Edmund beats Murray
The current British No.1 inflicted a straightforward 6-4 6-4 defeat on his predecessor in the second round of the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne leaving Andy Murray still undecided on whether he will be participating at Wimbledon next week.
However the 31-year-old insisted he will be in a position to make that decision in advance of the draw which takes place on Friday.
I’ve looked up to Andy so much and he’s looked after me and really been good for me so it’s a bit of a weird feeling. I was a bit nervous towards the end Kyle Edmund
“Yeah, probably. I’ll chat with my team in the next couple of days,” said Murray.
“Obviously see how I pull up again on Thursday, but I don’t really anticipate any issues.
“With each match I’m trying to gain information about where I’m at physically and where my game is at.”
Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion, has slipped to 156 in the world after only returning to action at Queen’s last week following 11 months out with a hip injury.
The former British and Word No1 lost his first comeback match at Queen’s to Nick Kyrgios but was buoyed by beating fellow three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka in the opening round at Devonshire Park on Monday.
Murray suffered his hip injury in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year and underwent surgery in January.
“The matches have been helpful. The match against Nick (Kyrgios, last week) was a significantly longer match. (Against Edmund) was very different,” added Murray.
“I was reacting a lot on the court rather than being the one that was dictating on my own serve.
“They are the sort of things that when you play against the best players, which obviously Kyle is one of them just now, over the course of the match, that tells a little bit.
“There is no risk of me playing tennis just now. It’s just whether I feel like I’m able to do myself justice. Two weeks ago I practised with Kyle and I didn’t win a game.
“So I have made decent improvements (over) the last couple of weeks and obviously have been somewhat competitive in the matches that I have played. But I don’t just want to go out there to just play. I want to be able to compete properly.
“If I don’t feel like I can do that, then I won’t play. If I do and physically I feel ready, mentally I’m in the right place, then I’ll go for it, but there’s no danger about me injuring my hip more than there would be at any other stage.”
Meanwhile Edmund, the tournament’s second seed, said: “To beat him…it shows I have improved a lot. To have that win definitely gives you a lot of confidence and belief (against) someone like Andy.
“I can only play my game and the opponent down at the other end of the court. (I) always try to be realistic, seeing where he’s come from, only third match since coming back. But I can only do what I can do, and that’s play the guy on the other end of the court.”
The 23-year-old Edmund admitted that it had been a ‘weird’ feeling taking on his Davis Cup team mate and the man who had mentored him in his early days on the ATP Tour.
Murray, playing only his third match back as he tries to prove his fitness for Wimbledon, made things awkward and fought tenaciously but had no answer to Edmund’s ferocious forehand.
A service break in the opening game proved enough for Edmund in the first set and he broke twice to race into a 5-2 in the second before a late wobble.
But he held steady at 5-4 to claim his first career win against the three-times Grand Slam champion and become the first British player to beat Murray for 12 years.
“It was a bit of a tough match, mentally, playing Andy but I had to try to view it as another match,” second seed Edmund, who will play Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin next, said on court.
“I’ve looked up to Andy so much and he’s looked after me and really been good for me so it’s a bit of a weird feeling. I was a bit nervous towards the end.”
Murray moved well but could make little impression on Edmund’s serve having squandered break points in the second game of the match and he was frequently sent scampering trying to return Edmund’s venomous forehand.
He was given a standing ovation as he left the court a Edmund revealed: “Andy’s always very tough to beat. You know that coming from a tennis player’s point of view that it doesn’t matter where he’s coming from physically. He’s so smart on court and very crafty that he will make you beat him, he’ll always put balls in play in awkward positions. Whatever he’s feeling, I don’t know, but that’s what I’d say, and he obviously just, yeah, is smart.”
The second British winner on day four was British No.2 Norrie, who defeated compatriot Jay Clarke 6-4 6-3 to earn his quarterfinal spot at Devonshire Park.
He said he was feeling confident after his second-round match. “It was a very high-level match from the start,” said Norrie. “We both played really well, and I played well, and closed it out well in the end. I am really happy with my performance and happy to get through that one.”
Elsewhere the No.3 seed in the men’s draw Denis Shapovalov fought his way through a tight match against Jared Donaldson, 6-4 4-6 6-2, while the top seed Diego Schwartzman, was toppled by Lukas Lacko in his opening match, 4-6 6-4 7-5, following hard fought contest punctuated by sizzling baseline rallies.