Kyle Edmund insists he will learn from the experience of his first match on Wimbledon’s Centre Court – vowing to change the result next time.
They sell used balls here at a quid a pop but the ones used in this hard-hitting encounter will only be good for the dog – such was the ferocity unleashed on them.
Neither players are at home on grass and, in the initial stages, cancelled each other out with their impressive power game.
Edmund will look back with regret at the break point opportunities he spurned, Gael Monfils using his greater experience to establish an early advantage in a one-sided first set tie-break.
They continued to go toe-to-toe, exchanging several service breaks, before Monfils’s greater consistency was rewarded with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“You watch so many matches on Centre Court but it’s one thing saying you’re going to be on Centre and another actually experiencing it,” said Edmund.
“I didn’t enjoy the loss but I enjoyed the chance to be on the biggest court in the world.
“I remember when I was eight or nine years old, I did a tour around Wimbledon, and they took you around Centre Court, now I’m actually playing on it. You’ll always remember your first match here.
“It was great to learn from and I got my game out, which is something I wanted to do.
“Perhaps there was a lack of maturity and a few shots on certain points or match situations that I needed to be better on.
“I will definitely take away lots of memories and lots of things to improve. Hopefully next year I can win a few more matches and get back on the court – and win.”
But Edmund, who won his first singles match at Wimbledon in five attempts to reach the second round, certainly didn’t look out of place on his sport’s biggest stage.
However, he erred when the big points came and may well consider this a missed chance to push further inside the world’s top 50.
Andy Murray also lost his first match on this stage as an 18-year-old, though by the time he reached Edmund’s age he’d made the quarter-finals.
That underlines the challenge ahead for Edmund, whose game is certainly suited to the hard court season, underlined by his run to the fourth round at last year’s US Open at Flushing Meadows.
Despite his Davis Cup success, Edmund still slips under the radar for most British tennis fans, with Murray, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson – all still flying the flag here – remaining the main attractions.
Edmunds’s struggles at Wimbledon, a surface that remains far from comfortable, is perhaps the main reason he can still eat out in Wimbledon Village without too many second glances.
Quietly spoken, with a steely determination, he insists he’s not bothered or motivated by his profile.
“I don’t feel I need a run at Wimbledon to be more recognised, I’m playing tennis for myself,” he added.
“I don’t need to be popular or worry about my image but it’s great to play in front of crowds that are really gunning for you and wanting you to win.”
You sense Edmund – who is yet to appoint a full-time coach – is almost looking forward to be an anonymous Englishman in New York again, a Slam where he announced his potential last year.
He’ll take a few days off before the ATP Tour tournament in Atlanta, followed by the Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati, high-profile warm-ups for the final major of the season.
“I’m really excited about the weeks ahead,” he said. “The experience of playing on the biggest court in the world just makes you want it more.”
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