Kyle Edmund takes small step on road to recovery in Wimbledon mixed doubles defeat to Coco Gauff

THE overriding emotion was one of relief for Kyle Edmund as he made his long-awaited return to action at Wimbledon.

The former British No 1 and Australian Open semi-finalist from Tickton in Yorkshire, had not played a point of competitive tennis since October 2020, with three knee operations in the 20 intervening months. But after all that time, he finally got back out on court, alongside compatriot Olivia Nicholls in the opening round of the mixed doubles.

The duo were comfortably beaten, 6-4 6-1 by American duo Jack Sock and Coco Gauff, in just 50 minutes, but for Edmund, simply being back out on court was a victory in itself.

“It had been a long time training and rehabbing and all those kind of things,” said Edmund, who is now based in London and trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

Olivia Nicholls and partner Kyle Edmund of Great Britain interact during their Mixed Doubles First Round match against Coco Gauff and Jack Sock of United States of America. (Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“So it was nice, a change for me to do all the matchday things with the warm-up and preparing, waiting for the match. I’ve had a long time to think about my first match back so it was definitely good to be out there from that point of view.

“All that rehab and effort to have a reward of going on a match court and playing, which was ultimately where I wanted to get to. It’s been a long time out, it’s a shame, I kind of wish the match could have gone on longer, just to experience being back on court but I had to start from somewhere and mixed doubles was always going to be the lowest level of load and intensity being back.”

Edmund will next head to America where he should make his return to singles action, in three weeks. With a protected ranking – a mechanism to allow injured players to avoid qualification for big tournaments – Edmund should have no difficulty playing the events he wants in the next coming months, with the next big target a return to Grand Slam singles at the US Open.

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Olivia Nicholls and partner Kyle Edmund, back after 20 montsh out, in Wimbledon mixed doubles action on Saturday. (Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)