Ed­mund look­ing to go deep at Flush­ing Mead­ows

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT - ELEANOR CROOKS IN NEW YORK ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twitter: @YPS­port

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.

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 re- ally 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.”

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 bet- ter 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.”

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 mean- in­g­less 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 Brit- ish 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.

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.

I’ve had the best year of my ca­reer. It’s im­por­tant to not let it fade away. Bri­tain’s top-ranked male ten­nis player, Kyle Ed­mund, from Bev­er­ley.

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 world’s top 20.

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