Kyle Edmund, Britain’s No 1 tennis player and Jaguar brand ambassador, serves aces in an interview with Adam Barriball
He is a product of British tennis and here’s why. At age 10, he was already displaying aptitude for tennis; at 13, he was enrolled into a full-time tennis academy at the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey; at 16, he was recognised as the outstanding player at the junior Davis Cup; by 18, he was playing at Wimbledon. At 23, he has won multiple Grand Slams and is now Britain’s No. 1 tennis player.
Kyle Edmund, the shy tennis star from Yorkshire, discusses his rise in tennis, his first time at Wimbledon as British No. 1, and his role as the brand ambassador of Jaguar, with Tata Review from the Tata office in London.
It’s been a combination of things, starting with a long journey of training under different coaches, to the process of constantly improving to be able to sustain long-term in the game. Over a period, beating better players has given me the belief and confidence in getting results and improving my ranking.
But the big one for me has been the Australian Open. It was the turning point of my career, when everything came together and I was able to achieve good results. I also owe it to the efforts of my coaches, Frederik Rosengren and Mark Hilton, who have helped me take the game to a new level.
Each of my coaches have made an impact on me, starting from my early days in Yorkshire when I started training under John Black. I was with him from the age of 13-16. He not only helped me with my game but taught me life lessons off-court. He was a big influence, helping me transform from a kid into an adult.
I was with Colin Beecher for three years at the Lawn Tennis Association from whom I learnt a lot, followed by a year each with James Trotman and Ryan Jones. More recently, Rosengren and Hilton have worked on my mental strength and sharpened my technique.
Andy had an injury which made him go down in the ranking. He has been in the top four for so many years, which speaks volumes about his level. With him being injured, I guess it made it easier for me to become British No. 1. But my focus is not on this ranking; instead it is on improving my game.
It is something I learnt from my parents as I was growing up — to have a core mentality that has shaped my personality. Stay calm, think rationally, focus on the game and not get flustered has now become a part of me.
It is always a good feeling to be playing on home turf. This year will probably be different, with more expectations and media interest because of the ranking. It will be a new experience for me in terms of a new way of looking at the tournament and giving my best.
Each year one becomes more experienced and a better player. Last year, when I won my first match at the Wimbledon, I knew I had made strides on the grass court. My approach is to go with an open mind, be willing to adapt and get better. The experience I have from previous matches played on turf, will hopefully stand me in good stead.
I can’t remember that one shot but the base of my game is having a big forehand. I use my backhand to get onto my forehand and then I try to be clever with it as I know it is my strength. I guess when you have that strength you always try to optimise it.
I thoroughly enjoy the sport. My first memory of the game was watching Owen and Heskey on the field. I always supported them and wanted them to win. As a child I collected all the Liverpool FC paraphernalia.
It is exciting when you get to work with companies you admire. I am really pleased that I am the brand ambassador for Jaguar because I have a genuine interest in it.
I was very excited when they approached me, because I am a fan of cars and Formula 1. When Jaguar gave me the opportunity, I was really pleased because it is such a classy brand that has a very cool side to it too.
When they gave me the options of the car, I knew which one I wanted — the F-TYPE. It has probably one of the best sounding V8 engines, with a unique sound and start to it. I couldn’t be happier driving the Jaguar. It is great that Jaguar is willing to support me.