Australian Open: Take the stage and be the man is message to Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund, right, talks with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay at the Australian Open.
Kyle Edmund, right, talks with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay at the Australian Open.
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Kyle Edmund is getting a sense of the excitement his Australian Open run is causing back home while he keeps his focus firmly on this morning’s semi-final against Marin Cilic.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman has stunningly emerged as a contender for the big title at Melbourne Park this fortnight, beating US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in the first round and third seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.

Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Edmund joked after his victory over Dimitrov that he now knows how Andy Murray feels after finding himself in the spotlight.

“It’s obviously been a lot more attention than I usually get, just loads more text messages, messages on social media,” he said.

“I know my family have been really busy with stuff there. My mate that runs the local tennis club, he’s been asked questions, school teachers and things.

“The reaction has been amazing. But I’m really just trying to block that out because I’m still playing in the tournament. I have a really good chance, I’m playing well, it’s going to be a great experience.”

Edmund’s parents, Steven and Denise, are keen supporters of his career and will be in Marbella next week for Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Spain, but they have had to follow their son’s remarkable progress on TV in the middle of the night.

They will not be making a last-minute dash Down Under – at least not yet.

Edmund said: “Every day I facetime them after the match and see the family dog – he’s always doing something. Maybe we’ll see how this match goes but at the minute they’re just at home.

“I’ve got family in South Africa, they’re constantly texting and waking up early to watch, so everyone’s really supporting me.”

Edmund is not short of support in Australia, led by coach Fredrik Rosengren, who has been trying to help his charge deal with everything on and off the court.

The 57-year-old, one of the most experienced coaches in the business, said: “I think he realised more and more that his life changed. I hope he enjoys it a lot. This comes with the success.

“It will help him a lot with his self-esteem to improve as a person to handle all these things. He’s a very down-to-earth, polite guy so I’m not expecting him running tomorrow and buying a Ferrari.

“He’s not that kind of guy. He’s very humble. But, at the same time, I think it’s very good for his personality to have this feeling that he’s so good in something.”

Rosengren has been calling on his fellow Swede and former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson to hit with Edmund in practice and urging him to embrace the moment.

“Yesterday we had a great morning, laughing a lot,” said Rosengren. “It was so relaxed, first time he was hitting on centre court, first time he’s playing quarter-final, playing number three in the world, the way he handled it was unbelievable for me.

“But even if he’d have lost yesterday, I told him to go in there with the eyes open, the chest out and try to enjoy, and I was so happy when I saw him walk on court. I said to him after, even if you had been ‘killed’ yesterday, that was the first thing. This is something we work on – take the stage, be the man.

“Everything we talked about before the match, he did from the first point. I am the happiest guy because I am thinking about the future, not only this match.”

Cilic is through to the semi-finals for the second time in Melbourne after outlasting Rafael Nadal, who retired with a hip muscle problem in the fifth set of their match.

The 29-year-old lost to Britain’s Dan Evans in the first round here last season but is playing at a different level now and has not been beaten by a player ranked as low as world No 49 Edmund since then.

Edmund is looking to join select British company, with just Andy Murray and John Lloyd having reached the men’s final here in the Open era, while victory over Cilic would see Edmund surpass Murray as British No 1.

The pair have met once before, in Shanghai last October, when Cilic won in two tight sets.

Edmund said: “It’s a shame that Rafa had a problem. For me either way it was going to be a tough match. The fact that I’m facing Marin, it will be a great opportunity for me.

“I guess I have that little bit of a taste of being on court with him. The place I’m in now is really good so, what I’ve been doing, I’ll just try and carry on with that.”

Edmund is Britain’s last survivor following Dominic Inglot suffering a heartbreaking defeat with partner Marcus Daniell in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles.

The pair were facing seventh seeds Oliver Marach of Austria and Croatia’s Mate Pavic, who have won two titles already this season, but came within a whisker of causing the upset.

After losing the opening set, Inglot and Daniell, a New Zealander, saved three match points to take the second and the decider was nip and tuck all the way through to the final tie-break.

One mini-break decided it, and as a Daniell return sailed wide, Marach and Pavic celebrated a 6-4 6-7 (10/12) 7-6 (7/5) victory.

It has nevertheless been an excellent fortnight for Inglot, who heads to Britain’s Davis Cup tie after reaching the last eight at a slam for the first time since 2015.