Kyle Edmund has already reached one of his goals for this year by breaking into the world’s top 20 and come close to another by finishing runner-up at a tournament, but there is no way that the Briton will allow complacency to enter his mind.
“When you reach a goal it’s not like you stop or anything,” Edmund said here on Saturday ahead of the start of the French Open. “It’s just constant, it’s long-term. I keep going. I’m only 23. I’ve got a lot of years to go, so basically I’ll keep trying to improve and not take anything for granted.”
Much has changed for the world No 17 in the first five months of this year. He made his Grand Slam breakthrough by making the semi-finals of the Australian Open, reached his first tour final at Marrakech and broke into the world’s top 20 by reaching the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters, where he beat Novak Djokovic and David Goffin.
Although Edmund lost in the third round of the following week’s Masters Series tournament in Rome, he pushed Alexander Zverev hard before the 21-year-old German won in two tight sets.
“He’s No 3 in the world and probably playing the best tennis of his life,” Edmund said. “It was definitely a match you could look at and see where you are at. Other matches as well. I played well against Goffin, who was No 10 in the world, and against Djokovic. It was a good match against Zverev. I obviously lost, but it was a good one to learn from.”
He added: “I know I’m improving and had some good results, but you want to see improvement in the rankings as well. It’s nice to have some results to show that.”
This will be the first Grand Slam tournament which Edmund has started as Britain’s highest ranked singles player of either sex. It is also the first Grand Slam event at which he has been seeded, though he insists he is not feeling any different going into it.
“I guess there are expectations from the outside,” Edmund said. “I always have expectations of myself to do well, but of course when you are going up the rankings and you start to play guys more often who are lower ranked than you, it’s just the way it works. There’s more expectation to do well and win. It’s natural, but I realise that.
“I just focus on not letting that get in the way and playing good tennis as much as I can. It’s finding that balance. But I’ve found that has been the case since the Australian Open. You want to do well yourself and build on that.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say it changes what I do in terms of my routine or process or how I go about things, but it’s a positive in the fact that I’m going in the right direction. If you’re going in the other direction you’re not going to get talked about more.”
In the first round here Edmund faces Alex de Minaur, a 19-year-old Australian with a Uruguayan father and Spanish mother. Edmund won in straight sets in their only previous meeting in Estoril last month.
“I practised with him probably three or four times before I played against him in Estoril, so I knew what to expect,” Edmund said. “I felt like I played pretty well there. But of course his game is very energetic. He obviously has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls.
“He just competes very well, so he’s the type of guy who makes you win your points. He’s not going to give them to you cheaply. I always felt like you’re going to be in the rallies. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor.”