‘Hey Kyle, book a flight home’: Edmund heckled at Australian Open as he joins fellow Brit Jo Konta in crashing out at first hurdle after straight-sets defeat
- Kyle Edmund lost 7-6 6-3 7-6 to 24th seed Dusan Lajovic in the Australian Open
- Edmund was mildly barracked by a lively crowd who supported the Serb Lajovic
- Jo Konta, the 12th seed and British No 1, lost 6-4 6-2 to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur
- It was a disappointing display by Konta as she struggled against Jabeur’s variety
Kyle Edmund and Jo Konta suffered a thudding disappointment at the Australian Open as a big day for British singles players got off to the worst possible start.
With Monday’s torrential rain having departed, two of Britain’s most experienced players led off the GB effort and neither managed to win a set between them.
Edmund was mildly barracked by a lively crowd as he went down 7-6 6-3 7-6 to 24th seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, currently ranked 38 places higher than the 2018 semi-finalist from Yorkshire.
Kyle Edmund’s Australian Open is over after he was beaten in the first round in straight sets
The same fate happened to Jo Konta – as British participation on Tuesday got off to a poor start
Number 12 seed Konta, desperately showing her lack of matchplay since the US Open, was upset 6-4 6-2 by Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
Edmund resumed at 5-2 up from Monday’s washout, and took a bit of sledging from the Serbian element in the stands, one of whom told him to ‘Book a flight home, Kyle.’
Another asked, ‘Hey Kyle, how do you lose a set when you’re 5-2 up?’. It was fairly mild and not the reason he lost, which he expanded on later.
‘Obviously I was aware there was noise but I’m not listening to what they’re saying,’ said the current world No 65. ‘New York can be quite loud and the French to be honest. Wimbledon is a little bit quieter in terms of the atmosphere and setting. I always find it is a bit more equal to both players.
‘At the other ones, if there is a sort of favourite, it can be a bit louder. Being here in Australia, there is a big Serbian, Croatian and Greek background here, so it’s not that surprising that they are going to get some good support.’
Edmund was mildly heckled by a lively crowd who were in support of opponent Dusan Lajovic
Lajovic, the 24th seed, came from 5-2 down in the first set to triumph 7-6 6-3 7-6
Edmund had a set point in the opening tie-break which he lost 8-6, and playing against an outstanding mover made mistakes as he cut his margin of error on groundstrokes to try and get the ball past him.
He should have taken a set lead, but Lajovic is playing some of the best tennis of his career and gave precious little away, covering the court almost like his compatriot Novak Djokovic.
Edmund actually played well enough to suggest there are better results around the corner compared to his lacklustre 2019, but he is not yet back at a level to win a match like this over five sets.
Konta played far worse, against the kind of opponent she struggles with, one who has plenty of variety.
She put it down to having played only one match since Flushing Meadows due to knee tendinitis, and was relatively relaxed afterwards, despite this being the first time she has lost in the opening round at Melbourne Park.
‘It’s part of the sport and it’s part of also the way I play, and it’s something that will come with time and matches,’ said the British No 1.
‘I think ultimately the main thing was to start playing again, and I am. And how I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September of last year.
‘Before Brisbane, I had been out for almost four-and-a-half months. So it’s been quite a bit of time, not far off getting a protected ranking. I think giving myself that time to find a level that I want to play is going to be important.’
However, despite being short of matches she ruled out going back on her decision not to play in next month’s Fed Cup tie against Slovakia in Bratislava.
‘It’s a decision encompassing a number of things so as of now, no,’ she said.
Cam Norrie, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart were all due to play later.