By Joe Harker
Kyle Edmund surprised many by reaching the semi finals of the Australian Open at the start of the year. Unseeded for the tournament, he was eventually defeated by runner up Marin Čilić.
Since then he has made more of a name for himself and his progress in the Madrid Open sees him move into the top 20 rankings for men's singles players. Along the way he defeated Novak Djokovic and will be targeting Grand Slam glory from this point onwards.
Edmund is currently the top British player as Andy Murray has spent an extended period on the sidelines. However, if he continues to defeat the best around and improve then he could hold onto the spot and perhaps even challenge Murray for dominance. For now he wants to rise as high in the overall rankings as possible. He said: "It was a goal of mine to get inside the top 20, there's no reason why I couldn't.
"You have to set targets and I thought that was a very realistic target, so I'm pleased it's happened. But you know the way the tennis world works, you reach a target but it doesn't stop and you keep trying to get better."
The next logical step for Edmund would be to try and win a Grand Slam. Several of the top contenders in tennis are getting older and less likely to dominate the sport for years to come, it's an opportunity for younger challengers to step in and make their mark as future champions. Edmund set down a marker in the Australian Open and gave himself something to build on.
Former coach Martin Weston taught Edmund as a youngster and praised him for his style, saying he had the necessary attributes to become a champion. He said: "Kyle was fearless from a very early age.
"He always wanted to play aggressive tennis and to hit lots of winners. He was never deterred when he lost. It just made him train harder. By the time he was 16 I felt he had what it took to make it. People sometimes say he is introverted off the court, but behind the quietness there is a hell of lot of steel."
Research by Harvard Sports Analysis suggests that the Australian Open is less likely to provide an upset and see the best players fail to make it to the latter stages. If that is the case then Edmund's progression to the semi finals would be a marker for how much he has improved. Maybe a future Grand Slam win does beckon for Edmund, paving the way for an impressive career.