Kyle Edmund makes welcome return at US Open

Beverley's Kyle Edmund. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)Beverley's Kyle Edmund. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Beverley's Kyle Edmund. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Kyle Edmund is determined to be patient with himself as he prepares to contest his first grand slam singles match for two years at the US Open.

The former British No 1 from Beverley in East Yorkshire is working his way back from close to two years out with a knee injury that required three operations.

After playing mixed doubles at Wimbledon, he finally made his long-awaited singles comeback at the end of July, winning his first tour-level match in Washington since the US Open in 2020.

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Edmund, who is ranked 666th but entered the year’s final grand slam using a protected ranking reserved for those who have had long injury lay-offs, is still early in his return but is encouraged by how things have gone so far.

“The matches, the practice, overall my knee has held up pretty well,” he said. “I’ve been able to play matches. It’s been up and down, some weeks felt really good, some weeks not so good.

“There’s not been too much where I’ve had to stop but I’ve just had to manage it in terms of my load. But I think that’s sort of expected after such a long time out. And the reality is it is going to be a managing thing.

“And once I build up some momentum with the weeks and get the load into it and the condition to play then that will help me but, overall, I think it’s been positive.”

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So long had he been out that Edmund, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals and a high of 14 in the rankings in 2018, had seemed the forgotten man of British tennis.

He has been feeling his way back into tour life, saying: “The first few weeks when I played tournaments, it felt strange to be around the venues and just do the tournament things, like waking up on match days, getting on the bus, you practise two hours before your match, eating.

“Just all those little things that I’ve done all my career. And being in the locker room, seeing all the players again. It has been a positive. It is nice to be here. When you’re away from it so long you realise what you did have and then what you didn’t.

“So it is nice to be appreciative of those things but at the same time you are a professional athlete and, when things don’t go your way, it’s hard to always be like ‘Oh it’s all roses’. You do want to win.”

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Edmund did not have the luck of the draw, with his name coming out next to fifth seed and French Open finalist Casper Ruud, who is enjoying the best season of his career.

“It will be tough,” said the 27-year-old Yorkshireman of Monday’s match. “He is the fifth seed for a reason. There will be a lot of positives that I can hopefully take away from it because I can learn what my true level is because he is at the top of the game right now.

“What things I am doing well already, what I can do better. Right now it is so early coming back so it is important that I don’t give myself a hard time getting wrapped up in it all but seeing it for what it is and the strides that I have made to get back.

“It was 11 or 12 weeks ago that I was having an operation. Now three months on to be in a grand slam is great.”

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Heather Watson and Hull’s Paul Jubb both came up short in their bids to qualify for the US Open.

Watson’s name will be missing from the main draw for only the second time since 2010 after she was beaten 3-6 6-4 7-5 by 16-year-old Czech Sara Bejlek in a rain-affected clash.

Storms in New York meant the clash was interrupted several times and although Watson won the first set, it was her teenage opponent who eventually prevailed.

Twenty-two-year-old Jubb was looking to qualify for a grand slam for the first time. Having come from behind in his first two matches, he again battled back from a set down against Dutchman Gijs Brouwer but fell to a 7-6 (3) 3-6 6-2 loss.

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Watson and Jubb’s defeats mean there will be seven British players in the main singles draws, which begin on Monday.

Bejlek was the third Czech teenager to win on Friday, joining 17-year-olds Linda Noskova and Linda Fruhvirtova in the main draw, while, on the men’s side, former junior champion Wu Yibing became the first Chinese man to qualify for the US Open and was swiftly joined by compatriot Zhang Zhizhen.

Two-time champion Tracy Austin, meanwhile, experienced another emotional moment at Flushing Meadows as she watched her son, Brandon Holt, make it through to the main draw.

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