At the start of the week, team captain Leon Smith was of the understanding that Edmund’s exertions in reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open in Melbourne, which lifted him to 26 in the world rankings, would force him to sit out the opening rubber of the 2018 tournament.
Edmund nursed a minor hip problem through those final rounds, but flew out to Marbella initially as a cheerleader, only to be encouraged by his progress when he had a hit with the other team members.
Although he announced his intention to play on Wednesday, his name was absent from the singles players named at yesterday’s draw, with Smith instead fielding two Davis Cup rookies in Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie, with Andy Murray also out until June following his operation.
Smith said: “When Kyle got here we were thinking it’s going to be difficult for him for a number of reasons – the niggles, aches and pains, the travel, change of surface – but as each day went by he got more and more confident with where he was at.
“But you’ve got to be sensible in this situation. There was just too much of a risk to select him for Friday’s matches but we’ll assess it each day and hopefully he can play a part at some point over the weekend.”
Broady, the world No165, will face No21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the opening match to be contested on the clay of Club de Tenis Puente Romano today.
The other Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, is only two places further down the list than his compatriot and will face Britain’s highest-ranked available player Norrie, the world No114.
Established doubles pairing Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot are then likely to face to Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez tomorrow.
Spain have won 27 of their last 28 Davis Cup ties on clay and Smith admitted: “There aren’t too many more difficult tests. Any of the teams in the World Group would struggle here because of the strength in depth and the surface, but it’s brilliant for Cam and Liam to go out there and play with pride and passion and get involved in the match and show what they can do and learn from it no matter what the result.”