Kyle Edmund has begun the season in fine fashion, while Andy Murray has yet to feature on tour due to injury. The 30-year old former World #1 has struggled with a hip injury since Wimbledon and is far from his peak now. It now looks like Britain has a passing of the guard in terms of who is the best Brit on tour.
Here’s why Kyle Edmund is the future of British tennis.
Edmund has improved his game
The 23-year-old has the weapons to reach the top 10 without a doubt, including a monster forehand that is currently one of the best on tour. He has learned to dictate the rally and be on the offensive with his impressive weapon.
Not only has his forehand improved, but his serve has also. The Beverley-born player has changed his technique, moving his feet to allow him use his legs better for more power. Work is still to be done, but he managed seven aces in his semifinal loss to Marin Cilic in the Australian Open semifinal.
Results on the rise
Edmund has started 2018 impressively, reaching the quarterfinal of the Brisbane Open in his first tournament of the year. Victory over hot prospect Denis Shapovalov–after losing the first set–showed the grit the Brit holds. He followed that up with another impressive win, this time over Hyeon Chung, who later beat Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open. Edmund may have bowed out to World #3 Grigor Dimitrov later on, but it put down a marker stone for the rest of his tour.
The World #26 demonstrated his potential a week later in the Australian Open. An outstanding first round performance against Kevin Anderson, coming through in five sets, showed Britain the player they have. The victory was followed up by wins over Denis Istomin, Nikoloz Bashilashvili, and Andreas Seppi, which gave further evidence of the way Edmund has progressed since last year.
A quarterfinal masterclass over Grigor Dimitrov came next. Smashing down 13 aces and extracting revenge for his Brisbane loss, Edmund produced his best performance at a Grand Slam to date. The semifinal opposition of Marin Cilic turned out to be one step too far though, with Edmund losing in straight sets. However, it allowed food for thought to whether Edmund could mix it with the best in the world.
Murray’s time may be up
Injuries no doubt hamper any good sportsman and Andy Murray is no different. The three-time Grand Slam winner is in recovery from his hip operation in early January. Despite this is hoping to get back to the court soon after mentioning on his Twitter he was recovering “much better than I expected.”
Even with this positive news can Murray reach the top of his game again. Federer has shown its possible.
The current World #20 has not played since Wimbledon, where he was the victim of an upset in the quarterfinal against Sam Querrey. That was not his only disappointing result on tour last year though. A first round loss at Queens was added to early exits in the Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome Masters. A semifinal appearance at Roland Garros showed a glimpse he still could beat the best, but did very little to taint a poor tour for Murray.
Is there anybody else?
Edmund is the second-highest ranked Brit in the world, behind Murray, and it seems he has little competition to be so. Britain has very few top tennis players currently with these two the only big names.
Cameron Norrie has yet to feature on the ATP tour this season, showing how far behind Edmund he is. A glimpse of his potential was displayed in the Davis Cup though. A victory over World #23 Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets, after trailing by two, gave the country a lift that there are further successes to come from the 22 year-old. Next in the list is Liam Broady, who has a career high ranking of #158. This Brit looks unlikely to worry Edmund in the battle to be the nation’s number one.
Edmund has both the game and years to pave a path for success and show he really is the future of British tennis.