March 5, 2018 / 8:08 AM / 9 months ago

New British number one Edmund wants 'legitimate' Murray battle

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Semifinals - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 25, 2018. Britain's Kyle Edmund reacts during his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic. REUTERS/Edgar Su

(Reuters) - Kyle Edmund is proud to have become Britain’s top ranked tennis player but the 23-year-old says he would have preferred to have beaten Andy Murray fair and square for the honour rather than inherit it from the injured Scot.

While a hip issue has kept Murray on the sidelines since Wimbledon last year, Edmund progressed to his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open in January and has risen to a career high 24th in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday.

Three-times grand slam winner Murray, who took over as Britain’s number one in 2006, has slipped to 29th in the world.

“As proud as I am, I would have been much happier had Andy stayed healthy and occupied his place at the very top where he belongs,” Edmund told British media.

“It is humbling to become the British number one and perhaps unwittingly, as Andy has dropped down in rankings due to his injury.

“I’m wishing Andy a speedy recovery and I hope to battle it out with him in a more legitimate fashion in years to come.”

Edmund, who has not played since January after a hip injury in Melbourne, returns on tour to play the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, which begins later on Monday.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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