Kyle Edmund managed to get the first win of his career against Andy Murray as he defeated the returning three-time Grand Slam champion 6-4, 6-4, to make the Eastbourne quarter-finals.
The dynamics of this match-up had changed dramatically since they last played in Beijing of 2016. Edmund has grown into one of the better players on tour and has gained so much confidence with his performances down under at the Australian Open, where he made the semi-finals. Edmund has put together a consistent first half to the 2018 season, hence why sits inside the World’s Top-20 at 18 in the world.
The match was as challenging mentally as it was physically for Edmund, who has looked up to the experienced Murray for much of his career. Murray has taken Edmund under his wing and showed him the way during the time they have spent on the tour together. Edmund had to forget he was playing against his idol and treat this the same as any other match. Edmund was able to do this well throughout the match and was not fazed by the the calibre and achievements that Murray carries.
A first break of serve in the opening game helped Edmund settle his nerves and helped him to believe that he belonged on court. As much as Edmund has turned himself into a formidable player, he had not beaten Murray in his previous two meetings, so he was going into unchartered territory. Edmund’s heavy top-spin forehand is a shot that has catapulted him high up the rankings and it was a shot that guided the Brit to the first set. The one break at the beginning of the set was all he needed.
There were some really tight moments in the second set. A nervy, tight game at 2-2 in the second set saw Edmund steal the break on his fourth opportunity to put him up a set and a break, but it was the insurance break he achieved for a 5-2 lead that proved to be the deciding factor. In that game to go up 5-2, he played inspired tennis. Showing off the improvement in his agility from the baseline, but also displaying quality off both sides while on the run as he broke with a running forehand winner. The new British No.1 did get rattled when serving it out for the first time, but recovered to serve out a straight sets win in style.
After his big win, Edmund gave his own perspective as to how difficult it was preparing to play against one of his idols on tour.
“Like, you obviously have Andy as like an idol, and then he helps you out. You know, to beat him, it might seem strange but at the same time it sort of shows I have improved a lot, you know. Yeah, it’s difficult to sort of put it in words, but it’s one where it’s not nice playing them, but it’s one of them where to have that win is, you know, definitely, like, gives you a lot of confidence and belief with someone like Andy. I guess the mental side of that, as well, it’s a tough thing. Good to come through in that sense with the mental side. So, yeah, it’s a nice win. When he first, we first sort of, you know, got to know each other, it was a big difference in terms of level and ranking, and he was — you know, he’s the best-ever British player and one of the best tennis players that’s ever lived. So for me to be, like, a young 17-year-old who just got a pro ranking, it was amazing to be part of that.”
It may not be an official changing of the guard just yet, but what this result does emphasise is the coming of age of Kyle Edmund during the 2018 season.