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Australian Open: Challenge now for Kyle Edmund is to build on his Melbourne journey

Britain's Kyle Edmund holds his ankle during his semi-final against Croatia's Marin Cilic. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Britain's Kyle Edmund holds his ankle during his semi-final against Croatia's Marin Cilic. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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As quickly as the interest flickers, it burns out again.

Kyle Edmund was front and back page news for a few days until the intervention of clinical Croat Marin Cilic, who put a stop to an uplifting story and restored the world order in tennis.

Edmund beaten Down Under, everyone moves on.

For the Yorkshireman himself, those closest to him and those with only a fleeting interest in his influence, the task now is to keep the flame flickering for as long as possible.

Like those hard-working volunteers and part-time coaches at Beverley and East Riding Lawn Tennis Club where a young Edmund first picked up a racket.

There was no TV to huddle around in the clubhouse yesterday morning as Edmund tried to keep pace with Cilic 10,000 miles away.

Tennis coach Trevor Loten grimaces as he watches a TV at Fenwick-Smith House, a senior boarding house at Pocklington Prep School, Beverley, as Kyle Edmund took on Marin Cilic (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire).

Tennis coach Trevor Loten grimaces as he watches a TV at Fenwick-Smith House, a senior boarding house at Pocklington Prep School, Beverley, as Kyle Edmund took on Marin Cilic (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire).

While the members at David Lloyd Sports Centre in Hull packed the main bar, and teachers and pupils at Edmund’s old Pocklington Prep School took the morning off to watch their hometown boy in the biggest match of his life, the British No 2’s old playing partner at Beverley LTC had to watch the match in splendid isolation.

“There’s no TV at the club so I had to watch it at home,” smiled Tom Davies, five years Edmund’s senior and a member of the same hitting groups as the new great hope of British tennis at both Beverley and David Lloyd.

“It was a great achievement to get to the semis and really good for everyone at the club and in the local area.”

Bottling and selling that interest is the challenge now for Davies and the committee at Beverley, just as it is for those at the David Lloyd Centre, as the clubs that helped shape Edmund the tennis player seek to gain as much out of the greater exposure of their shining star as possible.

He’s a very down-to-earth character and whenever he’s back home he takes it upon himself to come down on a Saturday morning and see the kids and help out. I never have to ask him to do that, he just does it off his own back.

Tom Davies on Kyle Edmund

“On the back of what Kyle has achieved we would hope for a lot more interest in the sport,” said Davies, a county-standard player himself before going into coaching. “There’s been a lot of interest nationally in Kyle and we have played a little part in that.

“Our aim is to get as many kids with a racket in their hands as possible, and what Kyle has achieved has had a big impact on the kids and everyone at this club. He’s a very down-to-earth character and whenever he’s back home he takes it upon himself to come down on a Saturday morning and see the kids and help out. I never have to ask him to do that, he just does it off his own back.”

Such genorisity of spirit on the part of Edmund can only help fan the flames of interest in his sport among the children of the region he grew up in.

‘If a local lad can get all the way to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, what might I be able to accomplish?’ is a question worth asking for those youngsters who have been enthralled by the Yorkshireman’s progress this past 10 days.

Alejandro (right), tennis coach Trevor Loten (centre) and Charlie watch Kyle Edmund taken on Marin Cilic on a TV at Fenwick-Smith House, a senior boarding house at at Pocklington Prep School, Beverley. (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

Alejandro (right), tennis coach Trevor Loten (centre) and Charlie watch Kyle Edmund taken on Marin Cilic on a TV at Fenwick-Smith House, a senior boarding house at at Pocklington Prep School, Beverley. (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

And just as the local community seek to maintain the momentum, Edmund will be hoping that this acceleration in his upward trajectory is not a one-off spike. “You can’t predict how far someone can go, but what you do know is he’s on an upward curve,” observed Leon Smith, GB’s Davis Cup captain.

Smith has helped nurture Edmund’s talent over a number of years and was in his box for all the matches of his remarkable run at Melbourne Park.

The 23-year-old will climb inside the world’s top 30 for the first time, with many pundits tipping Edmund as a future top-10 or top-five player and a potential grand slam champion.

Smith added: “He’s got such a big game, he’s 23, he’s getting better. His best tennis is obviously still to come.

“Everything’s really worked for him this week. He’ll keep improving now. I think the biggest thing is his mindset shift, he’ll really think he’s got a shot at beating the top guys now.

“He’s pretty much halved his ranking from when he started the year already so now he can push on and make some great progress. But the most important thing is he’s got to keep the process that he’s been doing, not think too far ahead of where he might finish the year.

Britain's Kyle Edmund makes a forehand return to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Britain's Kyle Edmund makes a forehand return to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“It’s not about that right now, it’s understanding that what you’re doing is working so push harder again.”

The sun may have set on this part of Edmund’s story, and the tennis world may have moved on, but for the man himself, those closest to him and the people who played a small role in him getting so far in Australia, this is only the beginning.