From winning the French Open boys’ doubles title to claiming his first ATP win at Eastbourne and now getting set for his first Grand Slam match at Wimbledon, it has been quite a couple of weeks for Kyle Edmund.
It is apt reward for the British 18-year-old after the miles he has racked up on the Futures circuit since last October. Edmund has purely played on clay in Croatia, Spain and the USA, building the foundations for a career which, judging by recent evidence, could be a prosperous one.
“We could have played a little bit on the hard, but we try to avoid indoors as much as possible,” said Edmund. “You look at the tour – you’ve got probably Paris and the O2 and a couple of others that are indoors.
“Throughout the year it’s all outdoors. That’s where tennis is at and that’s what we’ve been focusing on. England is mostly indoors because of the weather. That’s why we’ve stayed away.”
It is a sensible choice from a young player who has impressed with the maturity he has displayed in recent weeks. Life on the tour at such a young age deprives a person of the regular life of a teenager, but Edmund, much like his compatriot Andy Murray, is not too bothered about missing out on boozy nights out.
“I avoid all stuff like that because there’s just no point,” said Edmund. “It might be fun for maybe 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or even if you go out for a night, it’s fun. But the day after you’re like: ‘urggh.’ In the long term, for me personally, I just avoid that stuff.”
Such an attitude has clearly helped in recent weeks as Edmund has looked at ease amongst the big boys. He ran Grega Zemlja close in his ATP debut at Queen’s and after beating Kenny De Schepper in straight sets in the first round in Eastbourne, which will see him jump around 60 places from his current ranking of No.442, he took world No.17 Gilles Simon to two tie-break sets.
But it will be another test altogether when wild card Edmund steps onto court for his first senior match at the All England Club on Monday to face big-hitting Jerzy Janowicz, the 24th seed. It was a challenge which Murray, then aged 18, met in 2005 when he beat George Bastl to progress to a second-round match with Radek Stepanek, who Edmund coincidentally could meet if he upsets Janowicz.
Playing at Wimbledon won’t be a new experience for Edmund, who has played in the Junior events before, but it will still be a special one. “I remember going there the first time and feeling a bit shell-shocked, taking everything in,” said Edmund. “It’s nice that I’ve played some matches there. You remember every match you play there, it’s such a great feeling.”
When Edmund was at school, he was often late due to this tennis training. This week, he received a tweet from an old classmate which read: “All those assemblies missed are starting to pay off now.” Quite.
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