For years Andy Murray has been the pinnacle of British tennis, with a remarkable record of three Grand Slams, two Olympic Gold Medals and 11 Grand Slam finals appearances. However, 2018 has been a year of decline for the Scot, as on January 8th Murray announced on Instagram that he had undergone hip surgery and subsequently had to withdraw from both Brisbane International and Australian Open.
In the time that Murray had off, young brit Kyle Edmund rose up to prominence, taking Murray’s British #1 spot in March; this was the first time Murray lost his no. 1 ranking since 2006.
The rise up the rankings
From starting at a modest ranking of #50 at the beginning of the year, Edmund now currently sits in 16th place with a chance of making it into the Top 8 for the Nitto ATP Tour Finals, held at the O2 in London from 11th-18th November.
This year alone Edmund has beaten top players such as Novak Djokovic, David Goffin, and Grigor Dimitrov, which has earned him his spot in the current rankings. The problem for Edmund is whether he can garner the same support that Murray has had by being an influencer in the sport; for instance people who don’t follow tennis on a regular basis will still watch for Murray, but can the same be said for Edmund? The answer to that currently is no, he does not have the global appeal yet that Murray has but in time that will build up if Edmund keeps producing the tennis he has shown, which will warm the crowds up.
Tipped to be the best
Facing Kyle Edmund for the first time in Monte Carlo last year, Rafael Nadal had this to say about the young Englishman:
“He is young, he has all the possibilities to become a top player: good serve, good forehand, not a bad backhand. My feeling is when he’s able to put all these ingredients together, play solid enough, he will have the chance to be in the top positions.”
It is not just top players tipping the 23-year-old ,but Edmund’s coach Fredrik Rosengren believes a lot in his player’s capabilities as well. Speaking to Sky Sports earlier on in the year in May, Fredrik said about his player:
“I have worked with five top-10 guys and, when you reach that ranking, everything changes. It’s much more stress and you have to love that. But he has all the tools, I 100 per cent believe in that.
“It’s much more about managing everything. Learn to understand that you can’t play like top 10 every day. It’s much more important to find a way to win matches when it’s ugly. If he plays well, he wins seven or eight matches out of 10.”
Edmund is currently only 23 years old at the moment, which is a perfect age in tennis where you can reach the peak of your playing career, and I think eventually–but not not right away–Edmund can surpass Murray’s record of three Grand Slams. It is clear the hip surgery has really taken a toll on Murray and he just hasn’t been able to make much impact since returning on tour. Now, is it Edmund’s time to take over?