Sport

Edmund targeting longevity on court this summer

Yorkshire tennis ace Kyle Edmund has listened to his body for long enough and wants be on court for as long as possible this summer.

The 29-year-old returned to the grass as a singles player for the first time in more than half a decade at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy.

After battling through qualifying, Edmund lost out to Brazilian Joao Fonseca 6-2 6-1 in the first round but is already identifying focus points for his next qualifying challenge in Nottingham.

Injury and three separate knee operations put Edmund’s high-flying career in doubt after 2019 but Surbiton may just have signalled a grass-court turning point for the former Australian Open semi-finalist.

He said: “When you’re working on things on things on the court, it feels like a positive that you’re focusing on tennis things to get better rather than dealing with off-court issues with your body.

“On the grass, it highlights it a bit more because the matches are very stop and start, you don’t need to do too much wrong and then you get punished.

“I’d definitely like to play at a level that I feel I have in me, I’d like to do that consistently so the pressure builds, I know how to deal with it.

“I might make a soft error and I feel like the better players are always putting the pressure on so that’s something I’d like to get better at.

“It’s always a constant process, it’s impossible in tennis to turn up every day and leave a winner, pretty much every week you’re going home and this is just one of those days unfortunately.

“You have to listen to your body but I’ve also listened to it so much that I just want to play.”

It has been a long and arduous journey for Edmund, ranked just inside the top 500 in the world.

But the self-confessed introvert, who grew up in Beverley, has found comfort in leaning on those closest to him, including his former coach and professional Colin Beecher.

He said: “I tried to build on the momentum that I’ve had for the last two matches but it also shows where I need to keep getting better and keep learning.

“There are not many days I’ve been on court and been pain-free, that’s something I’ve accepted through long-term injury, it’s rare you will be pain-free again.

“You look at Andy Murray, I doubt he’s playing pain-free, it’s like that where you have such long-term things that you just accept it.

“Naturally, I’m more of an introverted person, tennis is such an individual sport that you naturally problem solve on your own, in general that’s the way I’ve dealt with things.

“Being in that situation, it’s made me speak to people because you get so inspired by others.

“My old coach Colin travelled with me to Switzerland to see a specialist and I went to America to rehab and not play tennis and he was still there.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

Image: Tom Dulat/Getty Images for LTA

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