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Wimbledon: Kyle Edmund must grasp his opportunity, says legend Tim Henman

 

By John Skilbeck

Tim Henman has challenged Kyle Edmund to step up to the next level of his career at Wimbledon.

A first-round win over fellow Briton Alex Ward gave world number 50 Edmund a long-awaited maiden victory at the All England Club.

Success came at the 10th attempt for the Beverley-raised 22-year-old, after four singles and five doubles failures at the championships, and today he faces French 15th seed Gael Monfils in round two.

Henman feels that British players, Edmund especially, should be capitalising on their familiarity with grass courts and feeding off the crowd support during Wimbledon fortnight.

"You're really hoping at this time of year and certainly at this championships, that's where they can step up and produce a performance," said former British number one Henman (right), speaking at an event with HSBC at Wimbledon.

"I think Kyle Edmund is the one that needs to make that breakthrough. He's a very good young player, he's been making big strides.

"He's a top-50 player but it would be great if he could make a breakthrough here."

Standing in Edmund's way of a place in the last 32 is a player who has grumbled about his dislike for grass.

A run to the final in Eastbourne last week appeared to suggest Monfils is coming to grips with the surface. But the Parisian's Wimbledon record shows he has never gone beyond the third round in eight previous attempts and it pales against his results in the other grand slams.

That could open the door for Edmund to cause an upset, in the first career meeting between the pair, and Monfils' admission that he is nursing an injured knee casts added doubt on the outcome.

Monfils suffered that knock when beating fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the Eastbourne semi-finals last Friday.

"I haven't played well on this surface for 10 years," Monfils said.

"More than anything I try not to hurt myself.

"There's always apprehension. I injured my knee a little against Richard in Eastbourne.

"I'm not in my comfort zone," he added.

HSBC is the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, and shares the fans' passion that makes Wimbledon so unique. Follow @HSBC_Sport

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