After an unbroken sequence of 11 years and a half years, Andy Murray can no longer claim to be British number one. Following an injury-hit seven months, the Scot has slipped down the ATP rankings and has been replaced by Kyle Edmund. The 23-year old has climbed to 24th in the standings following an impressive start to 2018 but can he retain this position throughout the remainder of the campaign?
Source: BBC Sport via Twitter
Andy Murray hasn’t played a single match on the ATP Tour since limping out of Wimbledon at the beginning of July 2017 and that prolonged absence has understandably resulted in him tumbling down the rankings. His rehabilitation is reportedly going well and the popular 30-year-old has targetted June 18th as a potential return date. During his time on the sidelines, he has been superceded in the rankings by Kyle Edmund, whose productive 2018 has seen the South African-born player rise to 24th in the standings and subsequently become British number one.
Edmund is understandably “proud” to replace his good friend and Davis Cup team-mate but admitted that he would have preferred to have beaten Murray “fair and square” as opposed to benefiting from his lack of match fitness. It’s set to be a fascinating battle between the pair, with many suggesting that Edmund’s recent progression could make it difficult for Andy Murray to wrestle back top spot.
At the beginning of the year, Kyle Edmund was 250/1 for Wimbledon 2018 but his price has been significantly cut and he is now 80/1 in the tennis betting market for the Grand Slam tournament which gets underway on July 2nd. Andy Murray is third favourite in the betting behind Novak Djokovic and the evergreen Roger Federer.
Source: Queens Club Championship via Twitter
Kyle Edmund has won ten of his last 14 Grand Slam matches but suffered a hip injury in Melbourne and hasn’t played a competitive game since. He is set to make his much-anticipated return at Indian Wells in the Masters 1000 event. He reached the fourth round of the US Open back in 2016 but his run to the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open made the British public sit up and take notice of the man who was brought up in East Yorkshire. He landed almost £500,000 in prize money and suggested that his success down under has “given me the bug for more“.
The pair train together and are in regular contact throughout the year. Their rivalry is good-natured and it is highly likely to stay this way in the near future. Unlike compatriots Dan Evans and Liam Broady, Edmund appears to be mature enough to cope with the pressure of being British number one and understands the rigours of completing a full season on the ATP Tour. His recent form suggests that he is concentrating on improving his game and has learnt to avoid any off-court distractions.
It may be a couple of months before Andy Murray is able to return to competitive tennis but the battle between the pair could be one of the most exciting narratives in the sport and it also points to a tremendously exciting future for British tennis.