Kyle Edmund laments recent illness after making early exit from US Open
Kyle Edmund put his physical struggles down to the lingering effects of illness after being struck down by cramp during a first-round loss to Paolo Lorenzi at the US Open.
Much had been expected of the British number one, seeded 16th thanks to his brilliant season and with a strong record at Flushing Meadows.
But things began to go downhill after Edmund took the first set against his Italian opponent, a 36-year-old ranked 94 who had not played a hard-court match since the Australian Open.
By the fourth set, Edmund could hardly move and he limped to a 4-6 6-4 7-5 6-1 defeat in brutally hot and humid conditions.
Edmund has had issues with cramp in the past but this time attributed it to a recurring viral illness. He was forced to pull out of two tournaments after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and then another one following Wimbledon.
He had played four tournaments since but was unable to find his best form, winning only three matches.
Edmund was purposefully vague about the exact nature of the illness but denied it is glandular fever.
He said: “I don’t really know what it is. I don’t want to say too many details.
" It’s basically just put me back quite a bit, which is a shame. It’s already better than it was just clearly not good enough. It’s an illness and it just takes it out of you."
“For sure I’m disappointed I’m like this but I’ve just got to get better. It’s a shame it ended like it did because it’s pretty horrible. I know where I can be physically, I’ve proved that to myself, but I need to get back there.”
Edmund will now weigh up whether to play in Great Britain’s Davis Cup play-off against Uzbekistan next month or whether to allow his body time to rest.
He said: “There’s no crystal ball, no one really knows the answers. My mentality is always to try and work. Sitting on the sofa doesn’t improve your fitness. Davis Cup is two weeks away so I’ll do everything I can.”
It was a first opening-round loss at a grand slam for Edmund in more than two years, but there was an all-too familiar defeat for Heather Watson, whose 6-1 3-6 6-3 loss to Ekaterina Makarova made it eight consecutive first-round defeats in New York.
Watson won her first senior matches at Flushing Meadows to come through qualifying but was unable to follow that up.
It was a tough draw against the experienced Makarova, who always seems to bring her best in grand slams. Watson had not won a set in round one here since 2013 and showed good fighting spirit to recover from 1-3 in the second to push the match into a decider.
But Makarova halted the British player’s momentum and served out the victory.
Watson said: “I felt like I had a lot of chances today. I definitely felt like I was my most inconsistent.
“Sometimes it happens like that, you wake up and you’re not feeling your best, but I felt like I started to play better as the match went on and I fought hard. But in the third set those errors on the break points were costly.”