DOHA, January 5, 2016
When Great Britain captured the Davis Cup last November, it was not only a great success for the team and the country, but maybe also the birth of another interesting player coming up. At the age of 20, Kyle Edmund is already a winner of the legendary team competition.
This week, the Johannesburg native kicks-off his new season at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in Doha. The world number 102 battled through the qualifiying and beat Martin Klizan in the opening round of the main draw. He also found out that he is going to be a direct entry at the Australian Open.
“I have been in main draws before but I had to go through the qualfying or needed a wild card, so getting in directly due to my ranking is a good feeling. It was one of my goals to reach the main draw in Melbourne, as you want to play Grand Slams in tennis. You probably learn the most from those matches. I did well there last year when I qualified, winning three matches. So I hope I can go there and do well again,” Edmund told Catherine Whitaker in the current episode of The Tennis Podcast.
During the off-season, the British youngster beat Andy Murray to win the inaugural Tie Break Tens exhibition event, which took place at Royal Albert Hall in London.
“Andy’s mind was probably on holiday which was a good thing for me. I remember being there with all these great players like Murray, Ferrer, Henman, McEnroe, Malisse. All of them have done so well. I have grown up watching them. Being in there as a 20-year-old is pretty cool and obviously the end result was great. I didn’t expect anything like that. It was a great experience and another great feeling after Davis Cup,” he said on the podcast.
The victory for Edmund meant he took home a US-$250,000 pay cheque. His year-to-date prize money had been US-$205,654, and his career prize-money US-$410,583.
“Maybe you spend a bit more money on holiday doing stuff like jet skiing dune buggying. But the best thing might be to invest it. I have spent a lot of time in London and this might be an option. The thing is being a tennis player you travel a lot, so I am going to keep and hopefully use it wisely,” Edmund told and went to Dubai for holiday and training, where he met Murray again.
“I have been there for 10 to 12 days. I just went from holiday straight to training. About seven days I practiced with Andy. It was a good quality time and great start for getting for the season. It’s always a great experience with him, learning new things. After the practice in Dubai with similiar conditions to here, I felt pretty good coming to Doha.”
Of course, winning the Davis Cup has been his greatest achievement so far. “I had a bit of time over the holiday to think about it. It was incredible to win it with this team. Personally, I would have never thought of being involved in a winning Davis Cup team. Fortunately, I was in the position to experience that. After my match I was obviously disappointed to lose it, especially as you want to do your best for your teammates and the country but you have to see the positives. I was two sets up, playing well but I am still young” and added that his trophy is at home up on a shelf. “My mum sees it every day!” About his goals for 2016 he continued:
“Last year i spent a lot of time on the Challenger Tour but now you want to be on the main tour. I am trying to play more ATP World Tour events, which I had played before but without a great record. Now I am trying to get better. It’s just about to continue improving my game. I need to improve and getting up the rankings,” told Edmund, who claimed three Challenger titles in 2015, lifting the trophies in Hongkong, Binghamton and Buenos Aires.
About turning 21 this week on 8 January he simply stated. “I probably will not have a big celebration. To me it’s just a number, another day. I am not at home, still on the road. I do not know how it works out but if I am still here in Doha, that will be great!”
You can listen to the entire podcast here.