At 23 years old, Kyle Edmund, representing the UK, an unseeded player at the Australian Open has made the semi-finals. An impressive achievement as this little-known tennis player, ranked 49th, who recently moved to my hometown Nassau The Bahamas, beat 3rd-ranked Grigor Dimitrov to get there.
So what is it that makes this young man so special? As a young junior, Kyle was not the best in the UK, but what he did have that bettered everyone else at his age were a big vision, a hungry attitude, and huge work ethic. He knew he wanted to be a professional and he worked hard at the process to get there, never giving up on his dream.
If you have seen Borg vs McEnroe the movie, you will see that Kyle was very similar to Björn Borg in this aspect. When Björn was a young teenager he wanted to be the best in the world. He ended up achieving this and winning 11 grand slams.
Recently Kyle hired Fredrik Rosengren from Sweden as his coach. Fredrik has primarily focused on Kyle’s mental game, particularly his self-belief. Like most individual elite sports, tennis is very mental. Players have similar physical and technical games leaving the mental game as the one with the most influence on performance.
Having worked as a mental coach for the Swedish Golf Federation and with professional athletes for the last 20 years, the biggest impact on a player’s performance is self-confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to be present and let go of the internal chatter.
Kyle has a strong ego strength, he knows what he wants, he can be challenged and pushed, and he uses this to rise to the occasion, supporting him to continuously improve. At the same time, he also has humility and a lack of ego. He is grounded, and down to earth instead of being filled with self-importance like other players who behave like spoilt brats when they find fame.
“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” – Michael Phelps
Roger Federer, possibly the best male tennis player the world has ever seen, in my mind embodies humility. He is gracious in winning and losing and treats everyone as his equal.
If Kyle makes it through his semi-final match, he will be playing either the unseeded 21-year old from South Korea, Chung Hyeon or Federer, the current champion. It is the first time in 10 years that 2 unseeded players have made the semi-finals of a men’s singles event at a Grand Slam and the first time since 1999 at the Australian Open. This is a special tournament.
In the end, someone is going to be a winner. The game of tennis is like the game of life. What can you learn from the world’s best players and Kyle Edmund’s journey that can help you win in life?
P.S. In the next 24-48 hours Kyle will be playing the match of his life against Marin Cilic. Tune in to watch and learn.
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