It was hardly a roar – Kyle Edmund does not do roaring – but it was a statement of intent: Edmund believes he can win the Australian Open.
He had just reached the quarter-finals by working his way past Andreas Seppi 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. He had never come so far in a grand slam tournament before but now there are only eight men left with a chance of winning, Edmund feels he has as good a chance as any of them.
“You have to believe it,” he said quietly. “That’s why I’m in the quarter-finals, because every time I step on the court and I’m playing, I believe I’m going to win. So it’s no different now.
“The next opponent, I take it one step at a time. Whoever I’m playing on Tuesday, I have to believe I’m going to win and believe in my game and stuff. That’s the way I have approached it, one match at a time, and I continue to do that.”
It was hardly the in-your-face trash talk of a prize fighter but deep within that tall, quiet frame of Edmund’s, there is a fire burning brightly. It is one his new coach, Frederick Rosengren from Sweden is trying to fan and fuel. And it is one that Rosengren has seen grow since they started working together last October.
“To play to win, not to play to avoid losing, to have the heart,” Rosengren said. “You will not win every time but you have to go out there and get it because these guys will not give it to you to free. Believe you can do it in tough situations, serving out sets and matches.
Edmund has already spent one minute short of 12 hours on court to reach the quarter-finals and he has played 17 sets. Five of those were played in 42 degree heat on Friday but Rosengren is not worried about the physical aspect of Edmund’s recovery; all that matters now is Edmund’s mental strength and belief.
“For me tennis is a mental game,” he said. “It’s all about belief at this level, you have to manage the pressure on certain points, you have to step up and play well.
“It’s all about the mindset. He is not that tired, it’s all about the mental thing here to recover. You have to play seven matches, five sets, if you want to win this tournament. If you’re not prepared for that why come here?
“I think he showed some temperament here. He is a young man he knows what he wants and I think he has a great temper. He has really good behaviour, sometimes he could get his hair cut a bit more – we say that in Sweden when everything is too nice. He is doing a great job. We are all very happy for his quarters, and hope also this lifts his self-esteem.”
His esteem should be riding high now that he faces Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the semi-finals. At the beginning of the month, they played in Brisbane and Edmund was going toe to toe with the world No 3 until he rolled his ankle in the third set. That broke his rhythm (the ankle was soon as good as new) and allowed the Bulgarian to sneak the win.
“It was obviously a very good match,” Edmund said. “I played well; he played well. We can take things from that. There is a lot of things I did do well. Maybe a few things I could do better and I will try and do that. It’s a good reflection moving into this.”
Dimitrov earned his place in the last eight by beating Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 and while he did play well, he also looked tight and nervous when the finish line came into view. And this was only a fourth round. If Edmund can keep his cool as he has so far in the tournament, and if he can keep serving the way he did yesterday with 25 aces, the gap between the world Nos 49 and 3 will not seem so big.
But it does not matter where he is ranked or where Dimitrov is ranked – Edmund just believes that when he walks onto a tennis court, he can defeat the man standing in front of him. And confidence like that is hard to beat.
“You have to believe in what you’re doing and who you’re working with and what you’re doing on the court,” he said. “You’ve just got to do your own thing and trust it.
“As you mature and get older, you become better and wiser on court and more experienced and naturally you probably play a bit better. It’s only normal.”