Britain’s young champion Kyle Edmund is suddenly wild about Wimbledon


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The Independent Online

Twenty four hours after he talked about his dream of playing at the All England Club, Kyle Edmund learned yesterday that he had been handed a wild card into the main draw at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday week.

June 2013 will live long in Edmund’s memory. Five days ago the 18-year-old from Yorkshire became the first Briton to win a title at the French Open for 31 years when he won the boys’ doubles. On Tuesday this week he made his debut on the main men’s tour, losing here in two tight sets to Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja, after which he said it would be “unbelievable” to receive a Wimbledon wild card.

Edmund, who has already won a Futures tournament and stands at No 444 in the world rankings, was one of two British men to receive a wild card. The other is James Ward, the world No 215. Wild cards were also given to France’s Nicolas Mahut and Australia’s Matthew Ebden. Four more men’s wild cards will be awarded, but probably not to Britons. The Lawn Tennis Association recommends that they are given only to players in the world’s top 250. Apart from Andy Murray, Ward is the only player who meets that criterion.

Laura Robson and Heather Watson will play at Wimbledon by dint of their world rankings and five more British women – all in the top 250 – will join them after receiving wild cards. They are Johanna Konta, Anne Keothavong, Elena Baltacha, Tara Moore and Samantha Murray. Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who is returning after injury, also receives a wild card. Two more have yet to be awarded. Robson, Watson and Konta all lost on a disappointing day for British players at the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston.

Robson was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova, Watson lost 6-4 6-3 to Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva and Konta went down 6-4 6-1 to France’s Kristina Mladenovic.

There was good news for British tennis, however, with the announcement that financial-services company Aegon have extended their deal as “lead partner” with the LTA for four years. The original deal was worth more than £25m over five years.