Wimbledon 2018: Kyle Edmund in high spirits despite Novak Djokovic defeat

Even in losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to a rejuvenated Djokovic, Edmund had plenty of reasons to feel encouraged

Paul Newman
Wimbledon
Sunday 08 July 2018 13:44
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The end of Wimbledon gives most of the top players the opportunity to rest for a week or two, but for Kyle Edmund the treadmill will barely stop.

Barely a week after his defeat to Novak Djokovic here in the third round on Saturday the 23-year-old Briton is due to be competing on clay in the Croatia Open at Umag, where his agent is the tournament director. He is then scheduled to head across the Atlantic to play in Washington, Toronto and Cincinnati in the build-up to the US Open, which starts at the end of next month.

Edmund has never been afraid of hard work, the benefits of which have been evident over the last month during the grass-court season. Although not everything has gone his way – his defeat to Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarter-finals at Eastbourne, where he was the highest ranked player left in the tournament, was a notable missed opportunity – this has been the best grass-court campaign of the world No 17’s career.

Even in losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to a rejuvenated Djokovic, Edmund had plenty of reasons to feel encouraged. He is looking increasingly comfortable in his position as the British No 1 during Andy Murray’s continuing fitness struggles.

Edmund thinks his grass-court game has improved significantly this summer. “If you think back to 12 months ago, where it was then and where it is now, there have been really good improvements,” he said. “My movement on grass has been a lot better. It’s been a constant learning process. I think overall it’s been the case with me that I’m getting slightly better on the grass every year.

“The losses that I’ve had, it’s always good to learn from in each of the tournaments. I guess the good thing is that [my game is] better and there’s still room to improve.”

He added: “This year I’ve returned better on grass. Obviously serving overall, on every surface, has been better this year. When you’re serving well on a grass court, it’s good.

“It’s really hard to say definitely what I’d like to do better because it’s very small margins. Even the stuff that I’m doing well, you always try and get better. I’m moving a lot better on the grass this year, but I can be even better.

“It’s one of those things with grass. There’s now 12 months to wait till the next time [we play on it]. You have to remember and think back to how the season was last year. You think: ‘Oh, yeah, I did that better, I could have done that, I’ll try to improve that this season.’ But overall I think I’m happy with the way it’s gone.”

Edmund has made huge improvements across the past 12 months (Getty )

Djokovic sees Edmund as a potential Grand Slam champion of the future. “Why not?” the former world No 1 said. “He does have quality. He has a very good team of people around him. He has good working ethics. He’s quite committed, a good guy and has a lot of respect from everyone in the locker room.

“He’s improved his game in the last 12 months. He’s improved his backhand. We always knew his forehand was a weapon, but he was making a lot of unforced errors on his backhand. He has improved a lot since he started working with a new coach. He has completed his game. He’s top 20. He’s going towards the top 10. He’s definitely going to be a contender.”

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