The weight of expectation sat lightly on the shoulders of Kyle Edmund as he breezed into the Wimbledon second round with victory over Australian Alex Bolt.
Edmund would have been British number one even if Andy Murray had played but the Scot’s withdrawal focused the zoom lenses on the 23-year-old, who is seeded here for the first time.
Edmund has an aura these days and it did not take long for the first gasp at his mighty forehand to be heard. The third set was much more competitive than the first two but it was the home hope who won it to complete a 6-2 6-3 7-5 victory on a breezy Court One.
By reaching his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open in January and breaking into the top 20, the Yorkshireman has already exceeded many people’s expectations – but not his own.
This match was less about his spectacular weapon than the all-round improvements he has made over the past 12 months, to his serve, his backhand and especially his movement.
On paper, Bolt did not seem to offer much threat, as a 25-year-old qualifier ranked 204 who has never been close to the top 100. But his final qualifying victory over countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis was a result to make people take note.
The left-hander took eight months away from the game in 2016 after becoming disillusioned and worked with his brother as a labourer before picking up his racket again at the start of last season.
The third set was trickier, with Bolt serving for the set and forcing a set point, but Edmund saved it and then broke again before clinching his fourth game in a row to seal victory, which he celebrated with a leaping twirl.
It is only the second match Edmund has ever won at Wimbledon and he will be favoured to reach the third round for the first time, with either Japan’s Yuichi Sugita or Bradley Klahn of the United States up next before a likely clash with Novak Djokovic.