Kyle Edmund checked off another career accomplishment on Sunday in what's been his finest season on the ATP World Tour. The 23-year-old Brit beat France's Gael Monfils to win his maiden ATP World Tour title at the European Open in Antwerp. Edmund spoke with ATPWorldTour.com about the milestone:
How does it feel to be holding this trophy?
It's a really nice feeling to get the win today. Looking at the overall picture, just lots of years of hard work and building up to this, to win a title on the professional level, on the ATP World Tour.
To finally do that is a really great feeling, something you always remember, looking back and winning your first title. So right now in the moment, it's hard to just take it all in but over time it will give me a lot of confidence and belief.
Was this a goal you had as a junior growing up, to win an ATP World Tour title?
Yeah, it's always a goal, even when you're a youngster. But it's just a dream at that point, and over the years, it's building to make that into a reality, and you gain belief at different events and throughout the years, you have certain wins that give you belief and confidence that you can do it.
I've known for a while that my game is good enough to win a title. But it's about doing it, producing... and I'm happy that's happened today.
Watch Highlights: Emotional Edmund Earns First Title In Antwerp
How did you prepare for this final differently with your first final (l. to Andujar, Marrakech 2018) in mind?
I think that just helped me to learn from the environment and the feeling of being in a final. He beat me quite comfortably there. I knew it couldn't go any worse, and it was not a great feeling to lose in the final comfortably.
That helps you for the next one, spurs you on and makes you even more determined to get it. So after going down in the first set (vs. Monfils), it was just about really about being determined and fighting to get the win. I knew the win wasn't going to come easy after that; I knew if I was going to win it, I would really have to work for it.
You beat two former Top 10 players in the last two rounds in Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils. What did you do well to beat both players?
They're both different matches. The Gasquet one, I felt in control from the start of the match and served very well. It was more straightforward but still a tough match.
But I think today at the start, [Monfils] came out firing a lot quicker than I did, which made it harder to turn around. But both obviously French players, and they're very skillful and tough to beat, which most French players are, so you always know that, and it was no difference in my thoughts.
I was very happy to come through that in the semi-finals and the final, where the matches count the most and matter the most. To get over the line and win the title is a great feeling.
After the first-round loss at the US Open, you reached Beijing semi-finals, Shanghai quarter-finals. Would you consider this the best stretch of your season after your Australian Open semi-final run, or would you say it's better than that?
As a stretch of tournaments, it's been my most consistent for sure. There have been reasons why I've struggled after the Australian Open, just with physical concerns or issues basically. So it was always trying to get better from there and learning not to get physically down again.
As a stretch, this has been my best. I've had some good wins, some good tournaments.
ATP title. Grand Slam SF. British No. 1. At the end of the year, how's that going to make you remember 2018?
It's been my best year so far. I've done things that I've done for the first time, as in British No. 1, semi-finals at a Grand Slam, winning my first tour-level event. So that's been really good for me to do that and then obviously the goal is to always improve on that. But you have to get going, you can't just sprint straight away and expect these things to happen.
You have to almost get your first out of the way, and do it, rather than just thinking it will happen. So now that I've done a few of them I'm very pleased, and I think it's going to help me in the future.
Now that you have the first title. Next goals?
It was always a big goal of mine to get the title... For sure, I'm close to the Top 10, so I know the goal is definitely Top 10. That's a strong, tough goal. Top 10 just doesn't happen overnight. You have to be consistent with your results, and that's something I'm working towards... and of course winning more titles... and by doing this one I think that will help me massively.
Watch Hot Shot: Edmund Finishes SF With A Flourish In Antwerp 2018
You've done well on clay, hard. What would you say is your favourite surface now?
It's a really tough one to say. I like playing on clay. As a junior I played on it a bit more than hard. With the ATP circuit you naturally get used to playing on hard and improve on hard because it's probably 70 per cent of the year is played on hard courts... I enjoy playing on both (clay and hard). I've had my best results on hard, but for sure I like playing on clay.
Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge who has helped you get to where you are in your career this year but also just generally speaking?
There are always lots of people who have helped over the years, even when I was 14, 15, at certain academies, who have sacrificed their time to help me, and it has improved me at that stage of my career.
For sure, my two coaches and my fitness trainer, they've been there the majority of the weeks so they've helped me a lot. Probably the most important would be your family because they have always been there and they always support you no matter what, with mum and dad and sister.
There were times when I was 10, 11 years old where we would go for tennis sessions at 6:30 in the morning until 8, which meant getting up at like 5:30, and my mum would do that, take me to the courts. There's lots of sacrifice that goes in and for sure, they'll be very happy with my win today.
After the season, what will you do that you maybe haven't had time to do lately?
For sure, I'll go on holiday. I'll do that for a little bit, just mentally it's nice to get a break. Of course you need a physical break... But mentally it's important, I feel for such a long year that we have as tennis players, to just get away from the courts and mentally get away from it.
I always have sport interests. Last year I think I did go to a Liverpool game so I might try that. I know I'm going to go to England vs. New Zealand for rugby. I've played rugby in school and watched it on TV but I've never actually been to an international test match in rugby so I'm pretty pumped to watch that. And apart from that there have been no plans. I try not to make plans in my off-season because generally you just want to chill out. But for sure I'll go for a holiday.