French Open Betting: How far can Kyle carry the British flag?

Fredrik Rosengren
Veteran Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren has been pivotal in Kyle Edmund's rise
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Ralph Ellis looks at the prospects in Paris of Britain's new number one Kyle Edmund and likes what he sees...

"As he begins his campaign at Roland Garros tomorrow against dangerous outsider Alex de Minaur, I believe Edmund can at least match his first Grand Slam run of the year when he got to the Australian Open semi-finals."

It made me smile when I read that Steven Edmund, Kyle's dad, made his fortune as the director of a renewable energy company. He seems to have found a way of passing some of that product on to his son.

For if there's one area where the 23-year-old who has replaced Andy Murray as Britain's number one has improved dramatically in the past year, it is energy and staying power.

And it's why as he begins his campaign at Roland Garros tomorrow against dangerous outsider Alex de Minaur, I believe Edmund can at least match his first Grand Slam run of the year when he got to the Australian Open semi-finals.

Jo Konta might have crashed out in the first round, but where she struggles on clay it's a surface far better suited to Edmund's abilities - indeed he learned the game as an eight-year-old being taken on excursions to the green American clay at Goole rugby club.

Maybe that's where the booming forehand, which brings constant comparisons to the great Jim Courier, French Open winner in 1991 and 1992 and one of the select band of players to achieve the career Grand Slam, comes from.

His motto is "Enjoy the battle"

But it isn't only on court that there are similarities. When Courier was in his prime in his early 20s his great asset was his work ethic. I remember in a Paris press conference listening to him angrily telling a group of American journalists, who had been raving over Andre Agassi's natural ability, not to under estimate the value of his own talent for hard work.

Edmund, in much the same way, seems to have embraced the opportunity he has to mix it with the very best in the world game providing he keeps working and learning.

The decision at the start of the year to team up with veteran Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren seems to have been pivotal.
The 57-year-old, formerly his country's Davis Cup captain but with a stellar coaching CV that includes taking Magnus Norman to number two in the world and the 2000 French Open final, has worked on the mental side of Edmund's game.

He's brought two basic principles to his mindset. One is to "enjoy the battle". The other is to "play to win and not to avoid losing".

Nadal waits in the semi-final

Together with technical improvements which has made his serve a far more effective weapon to open up the opportunity to hit that powerhouse forehand, it has made a significant difference.

I said in March when Murray's injury problems meant Edmund overtook him in the British rankings that it would be worth watching him as an outside bet for the French Open.

He's [130.0] in a Winner's market inevitably dominated by the King of Clay Rafael Nadal [1.44], who he would meet in the semi-final if he can indeed get that far.

It won't be an easy progress. He should come through against De Minaur (he's [1.9] to win in straight sets) but there's a potential tough third round against Fabio Fognini, the Italian number one who is one of only three men to take a set off Nadal this year.

But get through that, and though he could then face his Melbourne conqueror Marin Cilic in the fourth round the clay surface, and the confidence from having beaten Novak Djokovic and David Goffin in Madrid, should give him every chance of turning the tables.

Most of all he has the form and the fitness to go the distance on the demanding red surface of Roland Garros. You could call it renewable energy, I suppose.

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