Job done. Kyle Edmund had reached the second round of Wimbledon for only the second time in his career and he had done it in good time for everyone to get home and watch the football. He may not yet be regarded as a national treasure, but he had still done his nation proud.
Edmund’s 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 demolition of Alex Bolt, a 25-year-old qualifier from Australia with a world ranking of No 204, was not the sort of performance that immediately set him apart as a championship contender, but it was efficient, tidy and crisis-free. There were a few sticky moments in the third set – Bolt was a break up and briefly held a set point – but Edmund was more than up to the task of putting his rival in his place.
That is the difference between the Edmund of this year and the man who lost too many close matches last season. Even if grass is his weakest surface, he believes he can win, he knows he has the game and the experience to work his way through any problem.
“There’s no reason why you can’t win matches on grass,” he said. “That’s how I try to view this year, or any tournament. I know I have a good game and always try and believe in it, be confident with it.
“When you have a big game or a big serve, you’ve got to use that to your advantage, especially on a grass court. When you have big serves, it helps. There is no reason why. It’s all down to producing on the day.
“I find a lot of matches are won and lost at this level in the head, who makes the right decisions on the day.”
The All England Club had made a few important decisions of their own yesterday. They will not go head-to-head with the World Cup in a ratings war and, officially, there is nowhere to watch the football on the grounds. But they are not daft – in the home of all that is so terribly English, they were not going to schedule the home-grown players for the early evening when England were due to kick off against Colombia at 7pm. Edmund was delighted with that move.
“I don’t know if they did it intentionally,” Edmund said gleefully (or as gleefully as a quiet bloke from Beverley in Yorkshire could manage), “but all the organisers put the Brits on first up on the schedule in time to watch the football later, which is great.
“It’s great I was first on. I’m going to go back to my place and get some treatment and watch the football there.”
In the absence of Andy Murray, Edmund finds himself being asked to fill the huge gap the Scot has left behind. Not that the world No 17 sees his role in quite that light but the public and the media certainly do. His run through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open awakened the public’s interest back in January and now, with no Murray to cheer, Edmund finds himself as the man of the moment.
“It’s not like I’m a big deal or anything like that,” Edmund said. “A few more selfies, autographs, especially around this time of year, around the grass court season. It’s a good thing. For sure, tennis fans want the opportunity to have a selfie or autograph, whatever it is, which is great.
“I felt a little bit more attention. Regardless of how many Brits are there or if Andy is around, there’s probably been a bit more attention. I’ve had heaps more off-court stuff to do, from my point of view anyway.”
That attention is likely to increase significantly if he can steer a path through to the second week of the tournament. With his thumping serve (he clocked 131mph yesterday) and massive forehand, he can blast the frail and the fearful off the court and give the great and the good cause for concern. And it should be more than enough for Bradley Klahn tomorrow.
Like Bolt, Klahn is another left-hander and qualifier who usually plies his trade on the Challenger circuit. With a world ranking of No 168, the American is pretty much a carbon copy of the man Edmund clumped yesterday. If Edmund can come up with a carbon copy result, he may start to edge closer to that position of national treasure.