Beverley’s Kyle Edmund is one win away from earning a place in the Australian Open. Nick Westby spoke to one of the coaches who shaped his development.
Colin Beecher has warned against pigeon-holing Kyle Edmund as ‘the next Andy Murray’, insisting the young man from Beverley has the drive to carve out his own career path.
Edmund meets Australian Dane Propoggia in the early hours in Melbourne today in the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.
Win or lose, it is the closest he has been to the main draw of a grand slam on his own merit, with his two first-round appearances at Wimbledon over the last two summers coming via a wildcard invitation.
And whether he is triumphant or has to pack his bags and head off to the next stop on either the Challenger or Futures tours, it has still been a week of progress for the maturing Edmund.
In fact, according to former Lawn Tennis Association coach Beecher, Edmund’s career has been one of natural progression for a long time, and any comparisons to the British No 1 do not help.
Edmund has long been one of Britain’s brightest prospects, with a string of deep runs in the junior grand slams similar to those Murray produced in his formative years.
But Beecher – who coached Edmund from the age of 16 right up until last year when he was 19 – is confident that Edmund has the attributes to be his own man in the tennis world.
“Talk like that only does harm, it doesn’t do any good at all,” warned Beecher. “The thing about Kyle is it is about the process. He sees the big picture.
“To start saying he’s the next Andy Murray is only going to harm him, and the same goes with the other young guys.
“Kyle doesn’t want to hear that, and he doesn’t want to read it. The journey he is on is his own journey.
“Of course he wants to get up there as quickly as he can, but this is his journey and he is heading in the right direction.”
Edmund is currently ranked 192nd in the world after two tournament wins on the Futures Tour last year. He also made his Davis Cup debut in 2014 as an unused member of the Great Britain team.
After beating Tristan Lamasine and Austin Krajicek in the early rounds of Australian Open qualifying this week, his ranking is likely to go up, and for Beecher, halving that current status is Edmund’s next big goal.
“For me he can be a top 100 player and once you break that number then who knows how far you can go,” said Beecher.
“That top 100 is a significant barrier, after which, you don’t know what will happen. People can surprise you because they can go on to become whatever they want to be.”
The transition from the junior circuit to the pro ranks is never easy, with Edmund’s progress smooth rather than spectacular.
But with the mental and physical weaponry Edmund has at his disposal, Beecher sees only continued development.
“He’s got unbelievable focus. He’s got a very strong state of mind. He sees the big picture, on and off the court,” added Beecher, who left the LTA following Edmund’s decision to go with Greg Rusedski, a high-profile former player who has since been moved on himself after being unable to commit the hours to being a full-time coach.
Beecher, for whom the relationship with Edmund remains strong, added: “Game-wise, Kyle’s got a huge forehand. He’s an aggressive baseliner with a big game.
“He’s always had good people around him, a very supportive family and coaches in Richard Plews over in Hull who helped his development. His focus and mentality are really good.
“Weaknesses? He needs more versatility in his game. If plan A is not working, he needs a plan B, or in some cases a plan C.
“Kyle is so aggressive that he bullies players, but the higher he climbs the more he’ll find opponents who can soak that up.”