Kyle Edmund won the inaugural Tie Break Tens at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening and took away more money than he had earned all year.
The 20-year-old Briton produced a sensational barrage of power-hitting to beat his compatriot Andy Murray 10-7 in a high-quality final.
Victory for Edmund meant he took home the $250,000 prize. His year-to-date prize money had been $205,654, and his career prize-money $410,583.
It was an honour for me to be here, I really enjoyed it’, said Edmund, afterwards. ‘The fact that I was successful made it even better. I’m very pleased. It’s important to use the money smartly. The best thing is to invest it in my career. If I invest in support and trainers, it’s going to help me on court.”
John McEnroe, who had been part of the field, was impressed with what he saw from the 20-year-old.
I liked what I saw, he’s made some great progress,” said McEnroe. “He’s a better athlete than I thought, his backhand was more solid. He’s got a huge forehand, he pops that serve and he rose to the occasion. He’s got huge upside.”
The anticipation ahead of Tie Break Tens had been building at Champions Tennis all week.
The six-man field comprising Edmund, Murray, McEnroe, David Ferrer, Tim Henman and qualifier Xavier Malisse (who earlier beat Younes El Aynaoui to earn his place), had been split into two-round robin groups and competed in a series of fast-paced, first-to-ten point tie-breaks.
In Group 1, McEnroe, 56, thrilled an excited crowd inside the Royal Albert Hall by rolling back the years and volleying exquisitely. He stayed neck and neck with Henman before eventually being edged out, and then led Malisse 7-1 with some of his best tennis in years. Suddenly, the McEnroe juggernaut came juddering to a stop as he lost nine points in a row.
They were joined in the final four by Murray and Edmund. The British pair both overcame World No.7 Ferrer to progress from Group 2.
The semi-finals turned out to be one-sided affairs; Murray clinically beat Henman 10-1 before Edmund saw off the spirited challenge of Malisse.
In the final, Edmund defied the odds and managed to avenge his Group stage loss to Murray. Edmund used his sledgehammer forehand to devastating effect and not even Murray’s renowned defensive skills could prevent Edmund from dominating the baseline exchanges and coming through 10-7.
What Did The Players Think Of Tie Break Tens?
Edmund: “I thought it was very exciting. I didn’t know what to expect but I think the crowd enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed it. With tennis it’s always so serious so it was nice to actually have some fun out there and see that emotion of players you don’t normally see. It’s like the 20-20 version of cricket, it’s quick, it’s sharp, it gets the crowd involved.”
Murray: “I thought it was good, it was quick. It was nice to be on the court with Tim and John. John is a legend of the game and the format was good.”
McEnroe: “I liked it, I felt good. I played well but sort of choked a little bit at the end. Tim actually played some good ball to win a couple of big points. I got cocky I think when I was up 7-1 against Xavier, I thought it was over and started thinking about the semis – that’s a mistake that no athlete should make.”
What is the future for Tie Break Tens?
Matthew Pryke, Tournament Director: “We are delighted with how our inaugural Tie Break Tens went as part of Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall. Everyone seemed to have a great time, whether playing, spectating, or watching on Sky Sports, and that’s the whole point. Kyle was a very worthy winner, but all of the players competed hard and made the evening a huge success. We believe Tie Break Tens can complement the current Tour and add value for the tennis fan with its quick-fire, tie-break format, and we intend to stage further events around the world in 2016 and beyond.”
For full results and more information: www.tiebreaktens.com
Champions Tennis runs from 2nd to 6th December at the Royal Albert Hall.
During the week of Champions Tennis, Henman, debutant James Blake, defending champion Fernando Gonzalez, Xavier Malisse, Younes El Aynoui and Sebastien Grosjean have contested an ATP Champions Tour event. John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Henri Leconte are playing legends singles matches against each other, and also joining the field to play amongst the doubles action are Mansour Bahrami, Pat Cash and Jamie Murray.
On Sunday, Henman will face Gonzalez in the ATP Champions Tour final, with a singles exhibition between McEnroe and Leconte. In doubles, Bahrami, Blake, Cash and Wilander.
+44 (0) 7764186090