Kyle Edmund will now find himself thrust centre stage as leading man of British tennis

Kyle Edmund will now find himself thrust centre stage as leading man of British tennis

When the question was put to him on Friday, he sounded distinctly unimpressed. “It’s a very unfair question to say, ‘You’ve got to fill this void because he [Murray] is gone,’” replied Edmund. “I’m just trying to do the best in my career.”

Murray’s departure will change the whole landscape of our sport, and no-one is likely to feel it more than Edmund, the 24-year-old who will now be thrust even further into the spotlight. As he went into last year’s US Open, he stood on a run of four straight majors as the last Briton standing, of either gender. But he then suffered a physical power failure on a day of sapping heat and humidity, and fell in the first round to 37-year-old Paolo Lorenzi.

Since then, Edmund has had his tonsils removed and experienced some recurring knee pain, which forced him out of events in Paris and Sydney. After that latest niggle, and a wobbly start to the year in Brisbane, he has yet to notch up his maiden win of 2019. But this would be a good time to hit form. A mischievous draw has landed him a stinker of a first-round meeting with Tomas Berdych, the 6ft 5in Czech who has reached the semi-finals here two times, but whose ranking has dropped in recent months because of an extended absence forced by a back injury. Should Edmund lose, he would drop a massive 720 rankings points – around a third of his overall tally – and probably double his ranking to somewhere around No. 28.

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