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Who is British Tennis star Kyle Edmund?

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It has been a meteoric rise for someone who was dangerously close to being eternally labelled a nearly-man and a choker.

Last November, at the French Open, Kyle Edmund was a ghostly white, walking off the court traumatized by his latest narrow defeat. The British number two had just been beaten in a third set-tie break against Jack Sock having led 5-1 in the second set and twice failed to serve out the match.

It remains the perfect summary for Edmund’s 2017. A year of near misses promising so much but ultimately ending in tight final set losses and injuries.

Fast forward to 2018 and Edmund is one win away from the Australian Open final.

He opened the tournament with the best win of his career over 11th seed Kevin Anderson, followed it with a five-set win in 40C heat against Denis Istomin, fought back to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final versus Andreas Seppi, and upset the world number three Grigor Dimitrov to reach the last four.

When Edmund faces the Croatian Marin Cilic on Friday he will become only the sixth British man to play in a grand slam semi-final and could overtake countrymen Andy Murray as Britain's number one.

It is Murray though who Edmund admires and owes a large proportion of his rise too. The Scot invited Edmund to his training base in Miami while he was still a teenager and was soon impressed with his talent and application. Edmund, meanwhile, was given a front-row seat into what it takes to become a champion.

“It’s just being around him, picking up tips, seeing what he does,” Edmund told the Guardian. “His work ethic is something that is very high and obvious to see and it shows why he’s tough to beat on court.”

The pair were both members of Team GB’s winning Davis Cup squad in 2015 with Edmund making his debut in the final aged 20.

"The Davis Cup has been a vehicle to give him confidence and some big stages. From that, he got to spend a lot of time with Andy," Great Britain captain Leon Smith told BBC Sport.

"I think (now) he has done three pre-seasons with Andy in Miami and one in Dubai, and he has got to rub shoulders with Andy on a regular basis - that can only help a young player coming through."

After reaching a career high of 40th in 2016, Edmund stalled, struggling to force his way further up the world rankings. He hired Brit Mark Hilton and Swede Frederik Rosengren as his joint coaches who both immediately set to work improving the youngsters mental game as well as his physical one.

“We have talked a lot about this: to play to win, not to play to avoid losing, to have the heart,” Rosengren said in a press conference this week.

“These guys will not give it to you for free. You have to believe you can do it in tough situations, serving out sets and matches. He has done that.”

The results are staggering, Edmund has come from behind in three of his four Australian Open matches, and on two of them has held his nerve in a fifth set played in furnace-like conditions. He is now just two wins away from history.

“You have to believe it,” Edmund said on Sunday when asked if he could win the Australian Open. “That’s why I'm (here). Because every time I step on the court, I believe I'm going to win.”

It seems like Edmund has finally shaken off his nearly-man tag...

Kyle Edmund's route to the last eight of the Australian Open.
First round: Beats Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
Second round: Beats Denis Istomin 6-2 6-2 6-4
Third round: Beats Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-0) 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5
Fourth round: Beats Andreas Seppi 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 6-3
Quarter-finals: Beats Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4
Image - WikiMedia Commons




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