It is a sign of Kyle Edmund’s progression in the tennis world that finally ridding himself of his Wimbledon duck merits only small celebration.
Finished in a shade over two hours, Edmund conceded just six games following an opening set wobble to triumph over compatriot Alexander Ward 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 on court three.
Britain may have a defending singles champion in Andy Murray but getting several players deep into a Slam is a rarity for home fans, with any victory cheered enthusiastically.
For any watching tennis fan then, seeing Edmund – who has risen to 50 in the world and reached the third round of this year’s French Open – end a run of four consecutive first-round exits at SW19 was reason to smile.
And while Edmund made sure to enjoy the moment at a tournament special to all home players, the British number two knows to look at the bigger picture.
“It’s nice to just win and especially because as a Brit, it’s the one tournament you want to do well in more than any other. You grow up as a kid watching this event,” said Edmund, who faces 15th seed Gael Monfils in round two.
“So to actually say I’ve won a game is nice but in terms of a professional tennis point of view, it’s just one match and it’s important not to get too high from the win.
“Going into it, I was asked about if I lost another one and it’s five in a row?
“I would have been disappointed, but I’m not going to cry over it. There are more opportunities after that. The whole year is so long.
“Like I said, it’s nice to win. But it’s just a tennis match at the end of the day. It’s one round out of seven, which is the reality.”
After victories for Murray, Aljaz Bedene, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson on the opening day, Britain was already guaranteed at least another in the second round of the singles with compatriots Ward and Edmund going head to head.
Both had their own back stories too with Ward having come through qualifying to reach the main draw while Edmund was without a win on grass this year and split with coach Ryan Jones last month.
Interestingly, Edmund has never faced next opponent Monfils, a man in form who reached the final of last week’s Aegon International in Eastbourne before losing to Novak Djokovic.
The Frenchman does enjoy a long-standing rivalry with Edmund’s compatriot Murray but the Yorkshireman was undecided as to whether he would catch up with him for extra information.
“Possibly,” he said. “At the same time, there’s a chance I won’t, because he’s just getting on with his tournament. I’m getting on with mine.
“He’s always very approachable. But sometimes, I’m happy working things out on my own, speaking to people off court about it.
“It will be tough. Gael obviously made the final last week, playing well. He’s got good confidence. Whoever it is, I’ll just go and play. I can’t read into it too much.”
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for fellow Brit Brydan Klein as he lost 7-6 6-3 6-0 to Yuichi Sugita and wildcard recipient James Ward went down 6-4 6-4 6-3 to Marcos Baghdatis despite a close battle.
Ward only recently returned for the grass court season after nine months off with a knee injury and has dropped to 1085 in the world.
“There were times where I didn’t know whether I would play tennis again,” he said. “You just don’t know whether it’s going to get better.
“Now I’m at a stage where I’m not 100 pain free but I don’t know if I ever will be.
“I looked at the match, there was eight points difference, it’s not very much. There are definite improvements on only being back four weeks or so.
“When you start winning a few matches, you get a bit more confidence.”
In the women’s draw, 20-year-old Katie Boulter did provide brief hope when she took the opening set versus Christina McHale – a player ranked 60 in the world – but lost the next two, eventually losing out 3-6 7-5 6-3.
“It’s my Wimbledon debut, it’s something I’ve dreamed off since I was a little girl,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted to play here and it was better than I ever expected. It would be inhumane if you were not nervous.
“This is where I want to be and knowing I can be here and be comfortable in this environment really drives me.”
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