US Open: Kyle Edmund looking to go deep at Flushing Meadows

Rising star: Kyle Edmund reached the last 16 at the US Open last year on his way to a place inside the worlds top 20. (Picture: Steven Paston/PA)Rising star: Kyle Edmund reached the last 16 at the US Open last year on his way to a place inside the worlds top 20. (Picture: Steven Paston/PA)
Rising star: Kyle Edmund reached the last 16 at the US Open last year on his way to a place inside the worlds top 20. (Picture: Steven Paston/PA)
BEVERLEY'S Kyle Edmund will head into the US Open buoyed by recognition that he is now seen as one of the leading players in the world.

The 23-year-old faces Italian Paolo Lorenzi in the first round today as the 16th seed for the year’s final grand slam and looking to hit more highs in a season that has had plenty of them.

Then next month the Australian Open semi-finalist will take his place alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Chicago.

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The Ryder Cup-style event between Team Europe and Team World, the brainchild of Federer and his manager Tony Godsick, had a hugely successful first edition in Prague last year when Edmund’s name would have been nowhere near the thinking.

The British No 1 said: “It’s very exciting. My team-mates are all top 10, so it shows the high standard you’re going to have to play. After watching last year what I really liked was how seriously it was taken and the players were really into it.

“When you’re in your tennis career you’ve got to enjoy it as much as possible so when you have opportunities to play alongside Novak and Roger I think you’ve just got to go out there and take it.

“When I got asked it was a really nice privilege. To put myself in a position to be asked is a really nice thing with how my ranking’s gone up this year.”

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Edmund’s immediate focus is Flushing Meadows, where he has a good record having reached the fourth round in 2016 and the third round 12 months ago. He might have gone further but for a neck problem that led him to retire against Denis Shapovalov.

Edmund has not had the best build-up, winning only three matches across four hard-court tournaments, but two of those came last week in Winston-Salem before a heavy loss to Steve Johnson and he knows the conditions in New York suit his game.

“I would have liked to have won more matches definitely,” he said. “Each week I’ve been getting better and better. Last week was nice to play three matches, get some match hours in the legs, especially with the five sets here.

“I’ve had the best year of my career, started the year really well so, as a professional, it’s important to finish the year properly and not let it fade away.”

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How far Edmund goes will influence whether he plays in Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan in Glasgow the week after the tournament and the week before the Laver Cup.

The changes to the competition have rendered the tie meaningless in terms of promotion and relegation although it will determine who is seeded for February’s first round, the winners of which will qualify for the new World Cup-style finale next November.

Edmund is one of five British players at the US Open. Andy Murray, the champion in 2012, is back after missing the last four major tournaments with a right hip problem. He plays Australia’s James Duckworth today.

Cameron Norrie has almost made professional tennis look easy since leaving college in Texas last spring. He raced into the top 100 and has not looked back. Norrie made a fine US Open debut 12 months ago, coming through qualifying and then winning his first slam match before falling in round two. He meets Australian Jordan Thompson today.

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Johanna Konta’s preparations were derailed by illness, but she appears to be over the worst. Having seen her ranking drop outside the top 40 the 27-year-old is not seeded in New York and faces a battle to progress beyond the first round after drawing sixth seed Caroline Garcia.

After a run to the final of an ITF tournament in Vancouver earlier this month Heather Watson then won three qualifying matches and will now bid for a first main draw win in eight attempts as she faces Russian Ekaterina Makarova today.