But the encouraging thing was the way he regrouped, first by picking up the £250,000 first prize in the Royal Albert Hall’s Tie-Break Tens competition, and then by reaching the quarter-finals of the first ATP tournament of 2016.
Edmund’s run in Doha gave him the ideal preparation for next week, and the year’s first grand slam in Melbourne.
Now ranked a career high of No 88, Edmund’s rise has been stealthy, even if his vigorous playing style is anything but.
But he showed his potential at the Davis Cup final in November.
Ivanovic’s career graph resembles that of another Anna, who also retired early: Anna Kournikova.
Russian Kournikova, who reached No 8 in the world and claimed two doubles Grand Slams alongside Martina Hingis, when injuries cut short her playing career in 2003, quit when she was just 21.
“Last year, I arrived here playing badly and feeling I was not ready for the tournament. “It’s tough but at the same time I know I did everything that I could to be ready. Remarkably, Duckworth was only the second Australian Hewitt has ever faced in his home Grand Slam event.
“It was a tough situation, absolutely, to try and block out everything else that’s been going on,” an emotional Hewitt said afterwards.
“I played five matches in Doha, beat two top-100 players, and had the chance to play [Tomas] Berdych in the quarters. The trick in sport is to be confident about your game without being cocky.” It is a good thing Edmund is so level-headed, because he could well find himself carrying British tennis on his shoulders when Andy Murray finally retires.Kournikova, who would often top the charts as the most searched celebrity on search engine Google during her playing career, was perhaps more in the limelight for her relationships.She was linked to NHL ice hockey players like Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov – with the latter claiming to be married to her.“I blocked it out pretty well.” Simona Halep, the world No 2, refused to blame an Achilles tendon problem for her first-round defeat by China’s Zhang Shuai, the world No 133, who had lost all 14 of her previous matches in Grand Slam competition.Halep, runner-up at the French Open in 2014, said she had been “a little lost on court”.