Brit Kyle Edmund joins Team Europe as a captain’s pick, adding a Laver Cup debut to a growing list of achievements in the 23-year-old’s outstanding 2018 season.
Team World captain John McEnroe was impressed when he watched Kyle Edmund compete in a 2015 exhibition event. “He’s got huge upside,” the American great noted.
Another former world No.1 and soon to be Team Europe teammate Novak Djokovic forecast big things when he faced Edmund in 2016. “He has the potential to step up and get to the top of the men’s game,” the Serb predicted.
That exciting potential has been evident in a breakthrough 2018 season, where Edmund has quickly transitioned from talented prospect to top 20 star. Now the world No.16 is set to make his Laver Cup debut in Chicago this week, joining Team Europe as one of captain Bjorn Borg’s picks.
Here are some fast facts about Team Europe’s latest signing…
After leading Great Britain to a first Junior Davis Cup title in 2011, Edmund made a memorable debut in the senior competition four years later. He pushed Belgian No.1 David Goffin to five sets in the opening rubber of the 2015 final, an impressively composed performance as Great Britain ended a 79-year wait for the coveted title. “I was just trying to focus on blocking out the atmosphere, the occasion, and just play tennis, which is something I do every day,” Edmund says of the experience of becoming the sixth player to debut in a Davis Cup final.
Edmund joined rare company as a Junior Davis Cup and Davis Cup champion, with world No.1 Rafael Nadal the most recent player to achieve the feat. With his Australian Open 2018 run, he became only the sixth British man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in the Open era. He defeated then world No.11 Kevin Anderson and world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov in the career-best performance.
Attending summer tennis camps sparked Edmund’s love of tennis when he was 10. If he was not a professional tennis player, he says he would have pursued a cricket career or become a Formula 1 driver.
Edmund closely follows Formula 1 racing and loves sports cars. He also owns a Yahama Rhino 4×4, which he likes to ride when not competing or training. Playing golf is another hobby. “To do something other than tennis helps take your mind off things,” he says.
After ending his idol Murray’s 12-year reign as the top-ranked British player in March 2018, Edmund is embracing the added pressure. “It’s good. It shows you’re doing well. You have to embrace it. That’s the way I go about it,” he says.
His father Steven is a Wales-born accountant who grew up in Zimbabwe and his mother, Denise, is a former sprinter from South Africa. Edmund was born in Johannesburg, but the family relocated to North Yorkshire when he was three.
Edmund supports Liverpool in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. “From being very young I just loved the kit, the crowd, the atmosphere. I had Liverpool bed sheets, curtains, everything,” Edmund says. He admits to getting more nervous watching them play than in his own matches. “When you’re on the court you’re in control of everything so I find it easier to control the nerves than when I’m watching my team and I’ve got no control,” he says.
I’ve seen up close what it takes to get to the top and how hard you need to work. Kyle Edmund
Edmund’s favorite players growing up were Andy Murray and Marat Safin. He now shares a close bond with Davis Cup teammate Murray, who invited him to pre-season training camps early in his career. “I’ve seen up close what it takes to get to the top and how hard you need to work,” Edmund says of the inspiration those experiences provided. “Once you accept that you need to work hard, you’re on the right path.”
Edmund’s powerful forehand is quickly becoming one of the most respected shots on tour. “Actually I would say it’s the best forehand in the game,” says former world No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander. “In terms of hitting winners off a sitting duck in the middle of the court, there is no one even close. (Juan Martin) Del Potro maybe, but Kyle has more wrist snap.”
An exemplary desire to improve complements Edmund’s huge forehand. “There are so many things to accomplish. There’s always the determination to achieve more and, of course, eventually becoming No.1 in the world is one of those,” he says. “If you want to be the best you need to be obsessed and do it your way. You definitely need to feel pain, it’s hard, it’s tiring, but I enjoy what I get from it.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity and I can’t wait to join all these great players in Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Chicago,” Edmund said. “It’s a huge honor.”
“Tennis is such an individual sport so it’s always very special to have the chance to play as part of a team. I watched the Laver Cup on TV last year and the atmosphere in Prague was amazing.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Chicago for the first time as well. I’ve heard they love their sport there, and although we are technically not the ‘home’ team, I’m sure we’ll get a lot of support.”