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Edmund knocked out of Australian Open by Berdych

Edmund is out of the Australian Open. Credit: PA

British number one Kyle Edmund has been knocked out of the Australian Open 6-3 6-0 7-5 by Tomas Berdych.

It was a horrible draw for Edmund, seeded 13, against a player who has made at least the quarter-finals here in seven of the last eight years but has dropped down the rankings because of injury.

Edmund arrived in Melbourne with doubts over a knee problem and, although he declared himself happy with the progress he has made, he did not move well and offered little until the third set.

As a result of his defeat, the 24-year-old will drop outside of the world's top 20.

Nadal sad at Murray's impending retirement

Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal expressed his sadness at Andy Murray's impending retirement but backed the Scot's decision as the right move for his mental health.

A tearful Murray revealed on Friday that the pain in his hip has become too much to bear and the Australian Open could be his final tournament.

Nadal said: "Of course it's very bad news. But when somebody like him, he achieved almost everything in his tennis career, is suffering like he's doing for such a long time already, and you feel that you are not competitive for the thing that really makes you wake up every morning and go on court with the passion to practise, to improve, and with a goal, then it is so difficult.

"Probably he is fighting to keep going since a long time. If he doesn't feel that the thing can go better, probably he does the right thing for his mental health.

"It will be a very important loss for us, for the world of tennis, for the tour, for the fans, even for the rivals that he has been part of a great rivalry between the best players for a long time, and a great competitor. But that's life."

Few people would have put money on Murray being the first of the 'big four' to retire, and his imminent exit is a stark reminder that this golden generation cannot go on forever.

"It seems like he had not a very long career," said Nadal. "But he's 31. Ten years ago, if he retired at 31, we will say he had a great and very long career. We will miss him. But today it's him, tomorrow another one. We are not 20 any more. Our generation, everyone is more than 30."

Nadal was a junior rival of Murray and the pair have known each other for 20 years.

"When he was a kid, he was little bit a bad boy," said the Spaniard with a smile. "I always had a good relationship with him. We shared the court in the most important stadiums in the world, competing for the most important things. That's impossible to forget."

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Edmund fully focused on Australian Open bid

Credit: PA

British number one Kyle Edmund has pledged to do "everything he can" to be fit for the Australian Open after picking up a knee injury.

The 23-year-old, who is ranked 14th in the world, has withdrawn from next week's Sydney International, which was set to be his final warm-up event before the year's first grand slam in Melbourne.

"I am disappointed that I won't be able to return to Sydney," Edmund was quoted as saying on the Twitter account of the Sydney International.

"I need to focus on my preparations for the Australian Open and do everything I can to be fit for the first grand slam of the year."

Edmund reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2018, losing to Marin Cilic in straight sets, but suffered a shock defeat to Japan's world number 185 Yasutaka Uchiyama on Wednesday in the Brisbane International.

The Australian Open gets under way on January 14.

Australian Open to feature final set tie-breaks

The Australian Open has followed Wimbledon by introducing final-set tie-breaks for matches at next month's tournament. Credit: PA

The Australian Open has followed Wimbledon by introducing final-set tie-breaks for matches at next month's tournament.

But, while Wimbledon will have a standard first-to-seven-points tie-break at 12-12, Australian Open matches which go the distance will be decided by a first-to-10-points tie-break at 6-6.

The US Open was the first grand slam to introduce final-set tie-breaks, with a first-to-seven-points game played at 6-6, meaning the three tournaments will all use a different format. The French Open is now the only slam to use a long deciding set.

The news comes at the end of a year where the divisions between tennis' various governing bodies have become significantly more entrenched despite pledges to work together in the interests of the sport.

Toni Nadal does not expect to see a grand slam title for Federer in 2019

Toni Nadal expects a grand slam title to prove beyond Roger Federer in 2019. Credit: PA

Toni Nadal expects a grand slam title to prove beyond Roger Federer in 2019.

The Swiss extended his all-time men's record to 20 slam victories by winning the Australian Open in January but suffered some unexpected losses during the rest of the season, finishing it ranked third.

Nadal, the long-time former coach of his nephew Rafael, believes the physical demands of best-of-five-set test are likely to put the majors out of reach for 37-year-old Federer.

Writing in his column in El Pais, Nadal said: "What can we expect from 2019? I find it hard to see Federer lifting another grand slam cup.

"Obviously, I do not say it for his game, although I do say it for the toughness of the five-set tournaments. I have to confess that I said that on other occasions and the Swiss, repeatedly, surprised me."

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