Teenager Kyle Edmund handed Wimbledon wild card


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Twenty-four hours after he talked about his dream of playing at the All England Club, Kyle Edmund learned 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 French Open title for 31 years when he won the boys' doubles. On Tuesday, 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 play at SW19.

Edmund, who has already won a Futures tournament and stands at No 444 in the rankings, was one of two British men to receive a wild card, along with world No 215 James Ward.

Wild cards were also given to France's Nicolas Mahut and Australia's Matthew Ebden. France's Gaël Monfils, bizarrely, said that he had asked for a wild card and then withdrawn his request and would not be playing at the All England Club for "personal reasons" – despite the fact that he had a good French Open and is through to the quarter-finals in Halle this week.

Four more men's wild cards will be awarded this week, but it seems unlikely that any will go to Britons.

Laura Robson and Heather Watson will play at Wimbledon by dint of their world rankings and five more British women – all of them ranked in the world's top 250 – will join them after receiving wild cards. They are Johanna Konta, Anne Keothavong, Elena Baltacha, Tara Moore and Samantha Murray.

Following Wimbledon's 40 per cent increase in prize money, a place in the main draw will be a major boost to the finances of most of the British players. Losers in the first round of the singles will receive prize money of £23,500 this year.

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, however, with the announcement that Aegon, the financial services firm, has extended its deal as "lead partner" with the LTA for another four years. The original contract was reported to be worth more than £25m over five years. Under the new deal the company will continue to sponsor the Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams and will remain as title sponsor of the major grass-court events in the build-up to Wimbledon.