‘Nobody wants to play him now’

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Highlights: Edmund loses semi-final to Cilic

Britain’s Kyle Edmund exceeded expectations by reaching a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time in his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Was it a one-off or are we likely to see the 23-year-old lift a trophy in the future, like his compatriot Andy Murray?

BBC Sport pundits Andrew Castle, John Lloyd and Pat Cash assess what we can expect from Edmund in 2018 and beyond.

  • Edmund has ‘caught the bug’ for Grand Slam glory
  • The making of Kyle Edmund
  • BBC TV and radio coverage times

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Highlights: Edmund beats Dimitrov for semi-final spot

‘Nobody wants to play Edmund now’

On his way to the last four, Edmund overcame seeds Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov which earned him career-best victories at Tour level.

The Yorkshire-born player eventually came unstuck against sixth seed Marin Cilic on Thursday – who prevailed 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Edmund had to call a trainer after the first set for a hip problem and former British number one Castle said: “I think the injury cost him a shot at winning it.

“He’s definitely not right physically but I thought he handled the occasion. If you beat Anderson, Dimitrov and others then you’re capable and ready.

“Nobody wants to play Edmund now. That’s a reputation that goes round. We knew he had a forehand that could put a hole in you but now people have seen other things: defence, attitude, results at a different level.

“He’s going to have to recalibrate his own mind now.”

Former Wimbledon champion Cash told BBC Radio 5 live: “Mentally he’s very focused. We’re used to seeing Murray grumpy and miserable for hours on end if he misses a shot. Kyle is the opposite.”

Can Edmund win a Grand Slam?


Kyle Edmund is the sixth British man to reach the last four at a major in the Open era, after Andy Murray, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, John Lloyd and Roger Taylor

Prior to his exploits in Melbourne, the furthest Edmund had progressed at a major was the fourth round of the US Open in 2016.

He will move from world number 49 up into the top 30 when the rankings are released next week and his next Grand Slam test will come in France in May – on his favoured clay surface.

“He’s got to figure now that he’s got to be in the second week of all the Grand Slams,” said John Lloyd, one of six British men to make a major semi-final in the professional era.

“That should be a minimum. Realistically I don’t see why he couldn’t get to a quarter or a semi-final at the French.

“Wimbledon will be the crucial one out of the four. It’s not his best surface and then you’ve got all the British stuff that comes with it.

“I don’t see why he can’t play well at Wimbledon but a lot of it will be in his head.”

All three pundits agreed that Edmund could go on to become a top 10 player in the future.

“Before the Australian, I would have said Kyle was top 30. I didn’t think he had enough flexibility in his game – he didn’t have a plan B or C,” admitted Lloyd.

“But after watching the Australian I’ve changed completely now. I think he’s got a very good shot at being top 10.”

Cash concurred: “This is not the first semi-final we’ll see Kyle in. He’s too good an athlete.”

The next generation – Edmund’s rivals


Denis Shapovalov lost against Kyle Edmund in the first round of the Brisbane International

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have dominated the men’s game for the last 15 years.

But as they edge closer to the end of their careers, there is a new generation of players hoping to replace them at the top of the rankings.

There are six players who are the same age or younger than Edmund who are above him in the current world rankings.

Alexander Zverev broke into the top five in September, while Australian Nick Kyrgios was among the favourites for the Melbourne title after winning the Brisbane trophy, before going out against Dimitrov in the fourth round.

Chung Hyeon of South Korea, the world number 58, is the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist for eight years and faces Federer in the last four on Friday.

But it is Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, currently ranked 50 in the world, who has caught the eye.

“I love the way Shapovalov plays,” said Lloyd. “He’s still raw but I think he’ll win a Slam within three years. There’s something about him – he’s amazing.”

“We’re watching his development,” added Castle. “He’s got a whole load of stuff that no one else has got.”