Kyle Edmund showed devastating form in February’s New York Open, only losing one set en route to his second ATP Tour title. For the Brit, it was a sign of the level that less than two years ago propelled him into the Top 15 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.
“I believe with how I can play and the players I can beat, I can get high up in the rankings again. But you have to do that. It isn’t just that I say this and it’s going to happen,” the 25-year-old Edmund told ATPTour.com the week of his New York victory. “That’s up to me to go and do that now. I’ve done it before in terms of having a good run at the biggest tournaments. Won an [ATP] Tour event, been in the Top 15 of the world. So I can do it, I’ve got to go and do it almost again now and learn from what happened last time.”
Edmund earned a major breakthrough at the 2018 Australian Open, reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final. Later that year he reached his first ATP Tour final in Marrakech, and then lifted his maiden tour-level trophy at Antwerp. After defeating Gael Monfils in a final-set tie-break to lift the trophy, Edmund began shedding tears. It was a big moment for the Brit, who’d finish the season at a career-high World No. 14, flying high.
But 2019 did not go according to plan. Edmund struggled with a knee injury and only reached one ATP Tour semi-final, falling as low as World No. 75 last October.
“I know that when you lose or have a bad run or something, it comes across as if people can make it out as a bigger deal than it is. One thing I’ve learned is if you have a really good result, you can be in the clouds for a day or something. But after a week, no one really cares about it, everyone moves on,” Edmund said. “It’s talked about for a couple of days, you’re picked up, you’re all over the news. But after a week or two, life’s moved on. No one really cares about that.
“That’s the same with negative results and it’s the end of the world for a day and people are like, ‘What’s going on with him?’ But after a week no one really cares. Everything just moved on. I’ve learned that it’s important not to get too into a head when things are going well. It’s important that you don’t think low of yourself when things are going badly.”
With Edmund’s success came expectations. After triumphing at Antwerp in October 2018, Edmund told ATPTour.com his sights were set on the Top 10. Former World No. 1 Andy Murray was also struggling with injury, and Edmund was the British No. 1.
“People have expectations of you like I have expectations of the football team I support [Liverpool] because it’s like an opinion you create. I want them to do well or they should come into a certain position. People always form an opinion or a view of you,” Edmund said. “But generally for me, my expectation will always be more serious and probably outweigh someone else’s because it’s me.
“I, at the end of the day, care about my career probably more than them, so it’s one of them where you sort of get used to it a little bit, you learn as you get older what it’s about and that’s it. Nobody’s going to have more expectations of you doing well and wanting to succeed than yourself.”
Edmund is simply worrying about putting his best foot forward each day and doing everything in his power to produce the best tennis that he can. That is what will take him back to his best.
“Just getting on with it, really. Trying to get the best results I can. I’m at a stage now where if I get a good result I could gather some momentum. The past year or so I just haven’t had a big-ish result compared to 2018. That’s where I’m at, just trying to do my best,” Edmund said. “You can’t really wait. You have to go and do it and earn it. It’s not really one result in like a fluke. It doesn’t just happen.
“[It is about doing] all the little stuff that goes on with that, like getting better physically on the court, whatever it is, looking after yourself, and just doing everything you can to maximise that possibility. For sure when you get on a bit of a run you get some more confidence and wins come a bit easier. It’s just trying to do my best to get there.”
It didn’t take long after this interview for Edmund to make headway, triumphing in New York to return to the Top 50. Then the Brit reached the Acapulco quarter-finals. With renewed confidence, Edmund will be a dangerous opponent, especially thanks to his massive forehand.
The 25-year-old did not model the shot off of anyone else's, but he looked up to former World No. 1 Marat Safin growing up, and he learned from watching Fernando Gonzalez, who had one of the biggest forehands in history.
“The way I hit my forehand, I’ve always sort of hit it that way and gained a confidence out of it and a belief and used it as my strength and my weapon. For sure coaching and teaching helps it, it’s not like I didn’t have any coach teach me, but you figure out things as well. You see things from yourself and how you can use it,” Edmund said. “When people say what makes your forehand so good, it’s hard to really talk about or say. It’s just how I’ve grown up with it and developed it. It’s all you know, really. It’s just how you hit the ball.”
Edmund says that even if his forehand is his best shot, he is always trying to improve it to make it an even more impressive weapon.
“You need to continue to try to make it better. Other than that, you sometimes tinker a little bit tactically on different surfaces or against different opponents. In general sometimes you can use a certain shot a bit more because as you’ve grown up you’ve seen that it’s more effective and stuff,” Edmund said. “It’s just the constant learning from it. At the same time you don’t want to tinker with something too much if it’s good. You can sometimes disrupt it a little bit. But you shouldn’t get comfortable with it, with just being happy where it is. You should always try to look to improve it.”
Edmund’s constant hunger for improving is what will help him continue his climb back to the top.