Nino Severino: Kyle Edmund deserves his success at Australian Open 2018
- Credit: AP
In his latest column, Nino Severino discusses the phenomenal success of young Brit Kyle Edmund at the 2018 Australian Open.
The first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, is now well under way and into its second week – and what a second week it has been for the British tennis fans, with our very own Kyle Edmund powering into the semi-finals.
I have very strong memories of Kyle training at the home of British tennis, the NTC, our National Training Centre in Roehampton, just down the road from Wimbledon.
He really is such a humble character, always going about his work in a very low key way, no fuss, no drama, just with the purpose and focus all aspirational champions will possess.
He would often be training on one of the practice courts next to Elena. I would watch him training and think this young man has definitely got something about him, and I was not the only person thinking this – it was the talk around the British tennis world. Andy Murray has been a great support to Kyle, and would often invite him to train alongside him, here in Britain and other bases such as Miami.
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I absolutely think that the access Kyle would have had to Andy would have had a major impact on his development, to be able to watch Andy, talk and listen to him, would have been an invaluable learning curve in his rise to world level tennis.
The Australian Open 2018 has been the stage on which this young star has made his mark, and he’s done it in style, meeting Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals and beating him in a very convincing way.
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That was an exceptional win for Kyle, he found the resilience, strength and tennis skills and tactics to remove the reigning ATP Finals Champion and third best player on the planet from one of the world’s biggest tournaments, on the biggest arena in the world, the Rod Laver Arena.
With that win, he’s now ranked 26th in the world at the tender age of 23 – and if he could pull off a win in the semi-finals, he would replace Andy as British number one!
I have no doubt Andy be back after he heals from his hip surgery, and with a bright new star being born, what a golden era of British tennis we potentially could have in front of us.
Kyle, who started tennis at the age of 10 will, I’m sure, be an inspiration to all the young tennis players in Britain, including the players supported by the Elena Baltacha Foundation, here in Ipswich.
I know from experience that Kyle will be having an amazing time, just being in Melbourne and at the site of the Australian Open. It’s a world class tennis stage, and the Australians have their very own unique style of running a Grand Slam, it could not be more different to Wimbledon, which is very traditional in its approach.
Funnily enough, one of my best memories of Melbourne was the year Elena played the world number one Dinara Safina on the Rod Laver Arena, the very stadium Kyle beat Grigor only a few days ago.
It was a night match and billed as a big evening event. During the day, you get the opportunity to warm up on the court, which in itself is an incredible experience, and of course afterwards, Elena just wanted to relax, so we retreated to the players’ lounge.
I was in for a fantastic treat as we settled down to have our lunch, as the other side of the glass partition just 10 feet away were a group of the top Spanish players, including Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco.
They were all sitting together, just having the time of their lives, laughing, joking and enjoying the lives of tennis champions.
I remember saying to Elena “I’ve got to just turn my chair around, this is a money can’t buy experience.”
It’s something you just don’t see that often at a major tournament, a group of top players socialising like young teenage tennis players, who in contrast are just starting their journeys in this great sport of ours.
To see the great man Rafael Nadal enjoying life so much was fantastic. He endures so much pressure, it was great to see him like that during his down time!