The British No 1 in Andy Murray’s absence became the last man standing yesterday as the other two surviving home players, Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter, crashed out of the women’s singles.
The fourth round match with Djokovic has still to be scheduled but, having achieved his first victory on Centre Court yesterday, beating America’s Bradley Klahn in straight sets, Edmund will be hoping for a swift return to what he calls the home of tennis. “As a little kid you dream of playing there and then when it becomes a reality it’s a bit surreal,” he said last night. “But there’s a reason why you’re there and you have to believe in yourself.
“Novak is one of the best players in the world. I’m going to have to play well but I’ll go out there and do the best I can.”
The day began badly for the Brits when Boulter lost to Naomi Osaka of Japan before lunch. Then Konta fell to Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova who, having missed out on a seeding by Serena Williams’ return from having a baby, was always going to be a dangerous opponent.
Yesterday’s win for the 23-year-old Edmund has taken him into Wimbledon’s third round for the first time. With Murray having withdrawn from the tournament, and with everyone else knocked out, the pressure is suddenly all on him. But he said he was ready for it. “For sure you want it. That’s why you put in all the hard work and the countless hours – to place yourself in situations like this, playing the best in the world on the biggest stage.
“This was a dream growing up. It starts off small, then when you get to play on the tour, that was a dream. Then to play all of the four Grand Slams. Once you do that, you’re hungry and you want more. You start to win matches and then you want to win the tournaments. I haven’t achieved that yet but I want to.”