Kyle Edmund breaks down in tears and enjoys emotional embrace with his coach after beating Gael Monfils in European Open final to claim maiden ATP title in Antwerp
- Kyle Edmund edged out Gael Monfils in a close European Open final on Sunday
- Edmund was forced to come from behind after losing the first set against Monfils
- The British No 1 fired back and eventually won the match 3-6 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4)
- Edmund sunk to his knees in celebration after winning his maiden ATP title
Kyle Edmund normally maintains a Yorkshire kind of stiff upper lip, but was overwhelmed by emotion after winning his first ATP Tour title.
The 23 year-old from the East Riding broke down as he embraced Swedish coach Freddie Rosengren after edging victory in the final of the indoor European Open in Antwerp.
Faced with flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils, Edmund twice came close to defeat before pulling through 3-6 7-6 7-6 in two hours and 27 minutes.
Kyle Edmund won his first ATP title by defeating Gael Monfils in the European Open final
Edmund sunk to his knees in celebration after claiming victory in a nail-biting final
The British No 1 broke down in tears as he left the court to celebrate with his support team
It all came down to a sudden death tiebreak in which the British No 1’s never held up the stronger, and he clinched it 7-4.
‘I’m obviously very happy. A lot of work goes into this so it’s just emotional, ‘ he said. ‘You are always going to remember this one so I was just very happy.
‘I’ve not been able to string together my matches to win tournaments. There has always been something to let me down.
‘It has been one of my goals to be more consistent. Today I had to really dig deep and it’s great that I’ve been able to have this experience and come through.
‘It gives you so much belief and confidence for the next time it happens.’
Edmund was top seed for this tournament at the ‘250’ level of the main tour, and will bank a cheque for £98,000.
He becomes the first British man not named Andy Murray to win a singles title at this level since Greg Rusedski managed the same at Newport in Rhode Island thirteen years ago.
It is a watershed for the unassuming Edmund whose ferocious forehand has become a trademark. His backhand has been one of the tour’s more improved shots of the past year.
This is what it means to win your 1st @ATPWorldTour ?. Take a bow @kyle8edmund!
The 23 year-old Edmund broke down as he embraced Swedish coach Freddie Rosengren
When Monday’s new rankings come out he will be at a career high ranking of 14, having passed a major milestone in his career.
This has been a breakthrough season for Edmund, beginning with his surprise progress to the Australian Open back in January.
He has contended with a recurring virus that saw him below par at the US Open but is finishing the year strongly.
There is still an outside chance he could qualify for the ATP Tour Finals at the 02 Arena although a more realistic aspiration would be to make it as an on-site alternate.
He has two more tournaments this season, this week’s lower tier event in Vienna and then the final Masters level event of the year, the more prestigious Paris Indoors which carries a heavy points haul.
Edmund tends to do things in measured steps rather than surges, Melbourne being an exception.
It took him five attempts to win an ATP semi-final before reaching the final of the Grand Prix Hassan in Marrakech back in April.
Edmund had to come from behind to win after Monfils served well to take the first set 6-3
When Monday’s new rankings come out, the British star will be at a career high ranking of 14
He looked unnerved by the situation on that occasion and lost heavily to Spain’s Pablo Andujar, but he had clearly learned from the experience in his usual fashion, judging by Sunday.
He has operated under two coaches this year, Rosengren and Mark Hilton, and looks increasingly well-placed to make a bid for the top ten next season.
World No 38 Monfils dominated on serve in the 31 minute first set but Edmund broke to go 3-1 up in the second.
The athletic Frenchman broke back for 4-4 but was to lose the tiebreak 7-2. Both players saved two break points in the decider to take it into a second tiebreak.
The key point was at 5-4 when Edmund made backhand pass to allow him to clinch match point, after which he sank to his knees before an uncharacteristic show of emotion.
He becomes the 13th first time winner on the ATP Tour this year – and is the highest ranked of all of them.
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