Ice and fire, yin and yang, opposites attract – put it how you like but Kyle Edmund and coach Fredrik Rosengren are polar opposites and yet the perfect match.
Today, the solid, serious and utterly focused Edmund will try to find his way past Marin Cilic, the world No 6, and on to the Australian Open final. In the players’ box, Rosengren will be up and out of his seat at the end of every point, he will be applauding and cheering and he will follow Edmund’s every move with gimlet eyes.
“It’s good to obviously see that,” said Edmund, pictured. “It’s great to have someone in your corner who is really engaged like that. At the same time it has to come internally from yourself, that drive and that firepower. All the guys in my box, I really believe in them and I want them there so when I see them I know they are in my corner supporting me. It is good to look over and see they are really pumped for you, especially when you get in those close moments at the end of sets, that’s when you can really feed off them and become really gritty and tough to beat.”
And just because Edmund keeps his emotions to himself, it does not mean he does not feel the excitement building as his run continues. He is fired up for today’s challenge; he wants it more than anything else in the world.
“It’s your job,” he said in his quiet way. “There are quite a few players in my opinion that act one way off the court and act another way on the court. When you are in a competitive environment you do stuff differently. I don’t know too many players who are exactly the same on and off the court, so I think it’s just how it works.”
The only time Edmund has played Cilic was in Shanghai last October and he lost in straight sets. At that point, Rosengren was merely watching from the sidelines at the beginning of his trial period with Britain’s No 2.
A little over three months later and the Swede’s influence on Edmund is plain to see. The soon-to-be world No 26 (or better if he beats Cilic), is more confident and has more belief in his ability to win from any position. But Rosengren will not be talking forehands and backhands before the biggest match of Edmund’s life. That is not his way.
“It’s more to get everything together,” he said. “To believe that he can use his strength in the right moment, that he picks up the right shot at the right moment, always finding the balance in your nerves. This is what I tried to teach Kyle: to understand the game. If he has the pressure or the opponent has the pressure, what to do. So keep the eye open, if you see him cramp, or if you maybe see him be nervous, you have to look at the other side of the net. You can’t just be thinking about your game.”
And what will help him beat the 6ft 6ins Cilic, the man with the huge serve and the experience of winning the US Open in 2014 and reaching the Wimbledon final last summer? Simple: more of the same.
“Again believe,” Rosengren said. “Hopefully his confidence has grown even more these days. I think he will be fine.”