Wimbledon: Defeat for Edmund is one of five for British hopefuls

Beverley's Kyle Edmund couldn't make the second round.
Beverley's Kyle Edmund couldn't make the second round.
Have your say

KYLE EDMUND defended British tennis’s wild-card system after Naomi Broady bucked the trend of five home disappointments on Wimbledon’s opening day.

Beverley-born Edmund, Dan Evans, Dan Cox, James Ward and Johanna Konta all fell by the Wimbledon wayside yesterday – but Broady saw off Hungarian Timea Babos for her maiden grand slam victory.

Self-funded Broady pocketed £43,000 for reaching the second round, after toppling Babos 2-6 7-6 (9/7) 6-0.

The Stockport-born 24-year-old revelled in vindicating her decision not to abandon tennis for life as an au pair just a year ago.

First-round losers at Wimbledon now take home £27,000, leading to increased wild card scrutiny, but both Evans and Edmund backed the existing set-up.

Edmund lost out to 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 to world No 95 Andreas Heider-Maure, then admitted it is tough going facing – on paper at least – vastly superior opponents.

“The reality is the British players are not highly ranked, we only have one person in the top 100, everyone knows that,” said the 19-year-old.

“Everyone we’re going to play, they’re expected to win. That’s why you see early first-round exits, hence myself. All the attention gets focused on two weeks, how badly they did.

“Through the year everyone has been playing Futures and Challengers (lower-tier tournaments), it’s not like every week we get wild cards. The wild cards can be good experience, but can also be used as an vital stepping stone for a breakthrough.”

Evans conceded his loss to Andrey Kuznetsov proved the day’s biggest British frustration, the 24-year-old losing out 6-1 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7/5), admitting he expected flak for losing out despite conceding just 25 world rankings places to his Russian opponent.

Breaching the world’s top 100 was not enough of a boon for Sydney-born Konta against Shuai Peng, China’s world No 60 easing home 6-4 3-6 6-4.

Cox was powerless to stop France’s world No 42 Jeremy Chardy coasting home 6-2 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (8/6) 6-3. Ward was overwhelmed 6-2 6-2 6-1 by 17th seed Mikhail Youzhny.