Edmund gives GB winning start in Davis Cup

Britain's Kyle Edmund.
Britain's Kyle Edmund.
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Kyle Edmund was inspired by the presence of Andy Murray as he defied awful weather conditions to put Great Britain 1-0 up in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Serbia.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman took on the role of British No 1 for the tie and handled the situation superbly to win 6-3 6-4 6-0 and post his first victory in the competition.

Wimbledon champion Murray, in Belgrade to support his team-mates after deciding the schedule was too tight for him to play, led the cheer-leading from the sidelines.

Edmund said: “It means a lot. It just shows how much he cares about Davis Cup the fact he’s come out basically on his holiday week to come and support.

“Someone who has done so much in the game, he’s put so much effort into Davis Cup, especially last year, he’s sitting there at the side of the court supporting, it does give you a lift. It’s not like you look at him, it’s his presence.

“It means a lot for the whole team just having him around, especially after last week. He doesn’t have to do it.”

Much of the match at the amphitheatre-like Tasmajdan Stadium took place in the rain and there were two lengthy breaks.

Janko Tipsarevic is a former top 10 player but he has missed most of the last two and a half years through injury and he later revealed he was struggling with illness.

The 32-year-old certainly did not offer the expected challenge and struggled to make any impression on the slow, boggy clay court. The start of the match was briefly delayed by rain and they had only managed three games when the rain returned and the players were forced off for an hour.

Edmund’s only previous Davis Cup experience came in last year’s final against Belgium, when he won the first two sets against David Goffin but lost in five.

He broke Tipsarevic’s serve immediately after the restart and led by a set and a break when the rain came again.

It appeared doubtful they would be able to resume but they did manage to complete the match, playing the whole of the third set, in which Tipsarevic won just five points, in steady rain.

Edmund, the highest ranked player in the tie at 67, said: “It was just a nice feeling to get that win. It was my first win for my country and I think it’s my first straight-sets win in a best-of-five-sets match.

“It’s great to get the team off to a winning start. It creates that momentum away from home, which is key. I think I’ve been playing well for a while, I’ve had some good wins recently, so I knew what I was capable of. It’s nice to execute it on the match court like I did.”

Serbia were already depleted after Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki chose to skip the tie, and there are now serious questions over the fitness of both Tipsarevic and third singles player Filip Krajinovic, who has not played since May.

Tipsarevic revealed he has been on antibiotics after struggling with a high fever for a week while his ankles are swollen due to an allergic reaction. But the 32-year-old may have to play singles and doubles.

The second singles match due to be played yesterday between Dusan Lajovic and James Ward has been moved to this lunchtime, to be followed by the doubles rubber.

At the draw yesterday, Tipsarevic was named in Serbia’s doubles team along with Nenad Zimonjic to take on Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot.

Tipsarevic said: “It wasn’t fun. I got outplayed. I think even the birds in the sky saw I’m unfit due to the illness I had before this event. I was on antibiotics for a long time and I had very few hours of tennis before this match.

“It wasn’t an option for me not to play today. Our team is kind of torn apart. I am ready to play (doubles). How good am I ready to play, I don’t know.”

Edmund earned praise from captain Leon Smith, who said: “We talk a lot about bravery and courage of conviction in how you go out and execute your shots, and watching Kyle at 21 do that gives everyone a big lift.”

Edmund, Colin Fleming and Inglot have officially been added to Great Britain’s Olympic tennis team for Rio.

The trio, whose selection was confirmed by the British Olympic Association yesterday, had to win appeals because they had not played in the requisite number of Davis Cup ties but all were formalities.

Edmund will join defending champion Murray in the men’s singles competition while Fleming and Inglot will be Britain’s second pair in the men’s doubles alongside brothers Jamie and Andy Murray.

Johanna Konta and Heather Watson had already been announced to represent Britain in both women’s singles and doubles in Brazil, with mixed doubles entries to be decided on site.

Team GB chef de mission Mark England said: “In Dom and Kyle we welcome two Davis Cup winners into the fold while Colin is hugely experienced having competed at both an Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

“The seven players that will travel to Rio 2016 will be one of the best squads we’ve had as part of Team GB and I am confident in their ability to perform once again.”