Murray, who is currently injured, held the top spot for well over a decade but has slipped to number 29 in the world after the 500 points he accrued for winning last season’s Dubai Championships expired.
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The 30-year-old, who claimed the number one slot in July 2006 when, as a 19-year-old, he dethroned Greg Rusedski after reaching Wimbledon’s fourth round, hasn’t played competitively since limping out at SW19 last summer.
He is currently recovering after undergoing surgery on his hip.
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Edmund, who reached the semi finals of the Australian Open, has risen to a career high of 24th but the Johannesburg-born 23-year-old sought to play down his achievement in light of Murray’s struggles.
“It’s humbling to become the British number one - perhaps unwittingly, as Andy has dropped down in the rankings due to injury,” said Edmund of his Davis Cup team-mate.
He continued: “As proud as I am, I would have been much happier had Andy stayed healthy and occupied his place at the very top where he belongs.”
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Edmund said he was wishing Murray a “speedy recovery” and added: “I hope to battle it out with him in a more legitimate fashion in years to come. I’ll continue to work hard and represent Great Britain as best I can.”
Edmund himself has been struggling recently, revealing that flu had kept him sidelined for the past two weeks but he was over the illness.
He added: “A bad dose of flu kept me out in Buenos Aires and in Rio but I am back on track and excited to get back to it. I’m ready to play in Indian Wells and Miami.”