June 28, 2018
Andy Murray’s first defeat to Kyle Edmund left him with a big decision to make – can he truly compete at Wimbledon?
First the facts. Edmund won 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and forty minutes of Eastbourne heat.
It could have been worse for Murray, after Edmund achieved a double break and served for the match at 5-2.
Murray’s serve wasn’t a weapon. He double-faulted and was broken immediately at the start of the match, and it didn’t get any better in the second.
But – the serve is something that can improve significantly in a short space of time, as Andy adapts back to big-match tennis.
Murray’s movement was also good enough for him to have four break points in Edmund’s first service game, and to break back to love at 2-5 down as he fought to stay in the match.
What did it all mean in terms of his Wimbledon participation? Andy was still trying to work it out himself afterwards.
He said: ‘Today’s performance was OK. It wasn’t anything special. I did some things OK, some things not so well.
‘I was kind of reacting a lot on court rather than being the one dictating on my own serve. If you play against the best players, and Kyle is one of those just now, that tells a little bit.
‘I have made decent improvements the last couple of weeks and obviously have been somewhat competitive in the matches I have played.
‘But I don’t want to go out there just to play I want to be able to compete.’
The key, of course, is to define what being competitive means for Wimbledon. He must know deep down that he isn’t going to win it.
At the same time he might feel capable of achieving a few crowd-pleasing victories before he goes down with a fight.
Will that prospect be enough for the fesity Scotsman? We will soon see, since he will ‘probably’ decide before Friday’s draw and insists that a Wimbledon campaign would be no risk to his health.
He added: ‘If I don’t feel I can compete properly, then I won’t play. If I do, if I feel physically ready and mentally in the right place, then I’ll go for it.’
We certainly have a top-quality Brit in Kyle Edmund to enjoy.
Realistically, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman has the best chance of reaching the business end of Wimbledon fortnight.
He paid tribute to how ‘smart’ and ‘crafty’ Murray still is. But Kyle is getting smarter too. And he has the explosive power to match.