Australian Open: Kyle Edmund better & fitter than ever - John McEnroe

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How much do you know about Kyle Edmund?

Seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe has been impressed by Kyle Edmund's power, fitness and "heart" during the Briton's remarkable Australian Open run.

Edmund, 23, will play sixth seed Marin Cilic in his first Grand Slam semi-final at 08:30 GMT on Thursday.

He beat third seed Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight to become only the sixth British man to reach a major semi-final in the open era.

"I'm amazed how much fitter he's got, how much tougher mentally he's proving to be for the other players," McEnroe told BBC Radio 5 live.

"He's way better than he's ever been, he's way fitter than he's ever been, and this just helps your confidence."

Edmund, ranked 49th, enjoyed a career-best win over 11th seed Kevin Anderson in the first round, and came through another five-setter, in 40C heat, against Nikoloz Basilashvili in round three.

"I saw him early on against Anderson, he showed a lot of heart," added McEnroe, a former world number one.

"I saw him when it seemed to be about 150F on the court in his third-round match and he got through that, so he's shown a lot of character."

Edmund's powerful forehand and improved serve have been key to his run through the draw in Melbourne - he leads the 128-man field with 121 forehand winners.

"I think he's got one of the biggest forehands in the game," said McEnroe.

"He's a big, strong guy, he went through some tough times. I saw him early in his career when he was cramping and he'd fade and physically he couldn't be there, and the next thing you know the questions start coming.

"It's nice when you see someone learn from that and figure it out, and become better than ever, and come into his own at the right moment.

"I'm surprised, but pleasantly surprised."

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Highlights: Edmund beats Dimitrov for semi-final spot

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, an ex-coach of Cilic, has been less taken aback by Edmund's progress.

"I don't think it's a huge surprise because he really improved his tennis in the last two years, especially the last year - he had a lot of close matches he couldn't finish," said the Croat.

"He's in the semis but it's so far away from winning the tournament. Two matches is a long way, and not easy matches.

"He has Cilic next, who I think is the absolute favourite, but Kyle has nothing to lose and he can just enjoy the moment, and like we saw in the past, anything is possible in Grand Slams."

Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, coached compatriot Cilic to his only Grand Slam title to date at the 2014 US Open, and backs his man to reach a third major final.

"This court suits Cilic, it's the fastest Grand Slam of the four," said Ivanisevic.

"Kyle needs to put pressure on Marin. If Marin is controlling the game then Kyle doesn't have any chance.

"He has the weapons, a huge serve and forehand, so why not? If he pulls back and thinks Marin is going to miss, then he's going to beaten badly."

Tale of the tape at the 2018 Australian Open
EdmundCilic
Aces:78 (5th overall)96 (3rd overall)
Forehand winners:127 (1st overall)115 (2nd overall)
Points won at the net:53121 (1st overall)
Average first serve speed:114mph117mph
Service games won:89% (12th overall)90% (7th overall)
Return games won:26% (26th overall)25% (30th overall)
Serve and volleys:010
Time on court:14hrs 48mins14hrs 45mins

Analysis

Tim Henman, former British number one: In this tournament he's dealt with the adversity and come through in the biggest moments, and he thoroughly deserves to be in his first Grand Slam semi-final.

He's improved his serve, and his forehand is one of the best in the game. He's so aggressive, he can dictate and that's got to be the cornerstone of his game."

Leon Smith, GB's Davis Cup captain: "People want Kyle to come out of his shell and he is starting to come out and starting to build that confidence, and that comes from big wins.

"The dial moved for him when he beat Kevin Anderson in the first round. To finally beat one of the top guys was a big moment and he's just gone from strength to strength."

Thomas Johansson, 2002 Australian Open champion: "Kyle is definitely on the right track.

"You need consistency for the whole year to make it to the top, there are many guys that do great results but not consistently

"I think Kyle will have that because he's a solid player, with a lethal forehand."

Mark Hilton, Edmund's coach: "Kyle is an unbelievably talented guy. What is noticeable this year is that he's coming through some extremely close matches.

"I've been impressed with how Kyle has spoken between matches. He's been assured, calm and has belief.

"You can't beat these guys if you don't believe you can win. He is a very difficult player to play against and he goes into the semi-finals with nothing to lose now."

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