Kyle Edmund ditches coach Greg Rusedski after five consecutive first round defeats
Kyle Edmund, Britain’s most highly rated young tennis talent, has dispensed with Greg Rusedski as his head coach after less than six months following a recent slump in form.
The 19 year-old from Yorkshire, who is currently in Australia, has ended the high profile arrangement and is said to have opted for now to concentrate on working with his other coach, James Trotman.
Edmund has lost five consecutive first rounds and is believed to have concluded that Rusedski’s other commitments will prevent him from putting in the necessary time at this key stage of his development.
The split is something of an embarrassment to Lawn Tennis Association Chief Executive Michael Downey and an early blow to recently appointed Player Development Director Bob Brett, both of who were enthusiastic promoters of Rusedski’s role with the former outstanding junior.
More profoundly, it is yet another example of how the centralised LTA system, with its inevitable political complications and vested interests, so often seems to hinder rather than help the production of elite players in Britain.
Edmund has looked the brightest prospect of a highly promising cluster of British juniors who a few years ago looked to have a good future, only to hit problems when trying to make the senior ranks with a depressing predictability.
Former U.S Open junior champion Oliver Golding, who got through a bewildering number of coaches from the LTA and elsewhere, is currently on an indefinite career break and may not return, while ex Orange Bowl winner George Morgan largely restricts himself to doubles.
Liam Broady, one time junior Wimbledon finalist, endured a major struggle for two years, although he has bounced back impressively this summer is now doing the best of them, currently ranked 235 in the world and the British No 4.
He is seven places above Edmund, whose past form had him projected to have advanced to around 150 at this point but has slipped behind the best of his international contemporaries.
In April, Downey enthusiastically declared that Rusedski had asked to be ‘given the keys’ to take Edmund on, after the player split from his long standing coach Colin Beecher, under who he had been making solid enough upward progress.
Both Downey and Brett wanted the ex-British No 1 to have a more focussed role in his part-time contract with the governing body, despite being warned that prized youngsters require full-time dedicated coaches. Andy Murray is known to have been among those deeply sceptical about the move.
From the outset there were issues about the restraints on Rusedski’s time and, in fairness, the former world No 4 never claimed he would be able to devote himself full-time to the youngster from Beverley, due to such things as his broadcasting and corporate commitments.
Beecher has now left the LTA, ironically one of the few coaches to depart amid a general wave of redundancies that has been taking place there.
Edmund’s stalled progress again suggests that, after its serial failures of recent decades, the governing body should distance itself as much as possible from the whole area of performance and outsource the process as much as possible to independent programmes at home and abroad.
As a talented player with an impressively mature outlook and work ethic, Edmund is comfortably young enough to kick on again and resume his climb up the rankings to fulfil the exciting promise he has shown before.
But, unlike nations with far lesser riches, the LTA still show no sign of knowing how to get prized youngsters through the toughest transition of all, turning from them from talented juniors into successful professionals.