Like any proper Yorkshireman, Kyle Edmund is a creature of simple tastes.
He rarely sets foot on the celebrity circuit, has little time for posh food, and turns a delicate shade of pink whenever his pale skin encounters tropical sunshine.
Before Christmas, the teetotal 23-year-old celebrated the end of the tennis season by treating himself to a day out in Harrogate, touring the headquarters of Yorkshire Tea, before sitting down for what he called ‘a good cuppa’.
After that, Edmund drove to the village of Tickton, just outside Beverley, where his businessman father Steven, 49, and mother Denise, 50, live in a modest £350,000 bungalow where he was raised with his sister Kelly.
There could hardly be a greater contrast with the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, where he yesterday became the toast of British tennis by earning a place in the semi-final of the Australian Open and cementing his status as the successor to Andy Murray.
Edmund stunned world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov — who has earned £11 million in prize money, once stepped out with Maria Sharapova, and now dates pop star and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger — in four gruelling sets, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Young talent: Tennis star Kyle Edmund as a boy
The 23-year-old boasts zero celebrity ex-girlfriends, and career earnings, before this week, of around £1.5 million
The result sets up a semi-final at 8.30am UK time tomorrow against Croatia’s Marin Cilic. It also leaves Edmund — who boasts zero celebrity ex-girlfriends, and career earnings, before this week, of around £1.5 million — just two victories away from becoming the tournament’s first male British winner since Fred Perry 84 years ago.
It’s a remarkable rise for someone who, until recent days, was largely unknown outside the tennis world. Nicknamed ‘Kedders,’ Edmund is said to be a big fan of cricket, Formula 1 and Liverpool FC, but has talked of enjoying little in the way of a social life because of the potential impact on his tennis.
After a brief romance with a girl rumoured to be linked to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) last summer, he’s single, and once joked of girlfriends: ‘I have been told they are trouble.’
Yesterday, displaying the sort of understatement that has become his trademark, he used his victory press conference to declare himself ‘just very happy’ to have ‘held my nerve’ during the last game of the match, when he won a series of lengthy baseline rallies.
Kyle is pictured with his sister Kelly when the pair were children
There was a similarly low-key response from his parents. While Kyle wows Australia, they have decided to spend most of their time back in Yorkshire to help 21-year-old Kelly, who graduated from Northumbria University in the summer, hunt for a job.
They are, however, keeping in touch via telephone and Skype, and say they are ‘going to be watching on TV’ when Kyle plays in his first Grand Slam semi-final. Even if he wins a place in Sunday’s final, work may still prevent them from travelling to Melbourne for the match.
‘We are trying to keep it a normal conversation when we talk and keep it to what’s going on at home,’ Steven, a chartered accountant who runs a renewable energy firm, told the Mail. ‘We don’t turn his next match into a big event and we’ve tried to do that for many years.’
While Kyle wows Australia, his parents (pictured left) have decided to spend most of their time back in Yorkshire to help 21-year-old Kelly, (pictured right) who graduated from Northumbria University in the summer, hunt for a job
The Edmund family have been keeping their son grounded since 2005, when he first picked up a tennis racquet aged ten at the David Lloyd club in nearby Hull.
Kyle was born in Johannesburg (his dad came from Bridgend but was raised in Zimbabwe, and Denise is a South African) and moved to the UK aged three.
He showed talent at cricket and swimming, but had energy to burn at weekends. ‘My mum said to me: “I’ve booked you in for tennis lessons on Saturdays”,’ he recalled this week. ‘Mum just wanted me to do something because I was annoying her.’
Edmund’s first coach, Richard Plews, said yesterday: ‘What was characteristic of him was his single-mindedness . . . he always backed himself.
‘It doesn’t surprise me to see him where he is now. He’s completely recognisable