He stood to earn a minimum of £1.16million by making the final and would have also overtaken Andy Murray as the British number one.
But it all ended in disappointment for new hope Kyle Edmund as he lost his semi-final showdown at the Australian Open in straight sets to Marin Cilic today.
Edmund lost 6-2, 7-6 and 6-2 to the sixth seed in his maiden grand slam semi-final, dashing the hopes of thousands of the 23-year-old Yorkshireman’s fans.
British tennis player Kyle Edmund grimaces during his men’s singles semi-finals match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in Melbourne today
Edmund (left) was beaten by Cilic (right) of Croatia at the Australian Open in Melbourne today
Edmund (left) wipes his face with a towel during his match against Cilic in Melbourne today
Cilic celebrates after defeating Edmund in their semi-final at the Australian Open today
There were concerns that Edmund had been struggling with an injury after he asked for three medical timeouts during the match at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Cilic predicted big things for Edmund after the match, saying: ‘He’s playing great tennis. The last couple of years he’s improved a lot and started great this year.
‘He had an extremely tough run to the semis, a couple of five-setters and a couple of four-setters as well.
‘Definitely it left some scars on his body. I can feel that too, but definitely he’s got a bright future in the game and we’re going to be seeing him a lot.’
Former tennis star Pat Cash tweeted that he was ‘very impressed with Kyle Edmund’s fight today’, while Andrew Castle also praised Edmund for his ‘superb tournament’.
Pocklington Prep School students in East Yorkshire watch Edmund play Cilic this morning
Prep School students hold masks of Edmund as they prepare to watch him play Cilic today
Edmund is pictured with his parents, Steven and Denise, at his sister Kelly’s graduation
Rowing champion Alex Gregory said he was ‘looking forward to see what comes next’, while ex-heptathlete Kelly Sotherton told Edmund: ‘You did yourself proud’.
And Labour MP for Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan echoed the hopes of a nation by saying she cannot wait for the Wimbledon Championships in London this summer.
Back in Britain at Pocklington Prep School, where Edmund was a sports-mad pupil from 2002 to 2006, children made posters to show their support to their local hero.
Photographs showed children sitting in the school hall in the East Yorkshire market town to watch the match and holding masks with Edmund’s face on.
Teachers had reported a wave of excitement among staff and children at the school, especially since Edmund’s defeat of third seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Former tennis star Pat Cash said he was ‘very impressed with Kyle Edmund’s fight today’
Kelly Sotherton, former Olympic heptathlete, told Edmund on Twitter: ‘You did yourself proud’
Alex Gregory, Olympic rowing champion, said he was ‘looking forward to see what comes next’
Labour MP for Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan said she now cannot wait for Wimbledon this summer
Retired tennis player Andrew Castle also praised Edmund for his efforts at the Australian Open
They said they remembered Edmund, who was tennis champion for three years running, as a ‘pleasant, quiet and shy boy who had a steely determination to win’.
Neither of Edmund’s parents have been in Australia with him, as his mother joined thousands of Brits watching at home while his father is on business in US.
Edmund’s parents Steven, 49, and Denise, 50, are keen supporters of his career and will be in Marbella next week for Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Spain.
But they have had to follow their son’s remarkable progress on TV so far and did not make a last-minute dash Down Under to watch their son in Melbourne.
Before the match, he said: ‘Every day I Facetime them after the match and see the family dog – he’s always doing something. Maybe we’ll see how this match goes.
Drama on court as Edmund has an angry confrontation with umpire
There was high drama on court during the match today as Kyle Edmund had an angry confrontation with the umpire over a decision.
The ball was called wide as he went to return a Marin Cilic serve. The return then went wide, Cilic challenged it and HawkEye found it was in – on the line.
The point was awarded to the Croat, leaving the British number two furious. ‘Get the referee, that’s rubbish,’ he said. ‘Get the referee, I’m not having it.’
The umpire insisted that the call did not affect his shot, but Edmund argued that he played the shot just as the line judge called out.
After a long chat nothing changed, but it fired him up as he unleashed a monster forehand and Cilic netted.
Edmund points the figure as he has an angry confrontation with an official in the match
The point was awarded to his Croat opponent, leaving the British number two furious
JANUARY 25, 2018
‘But at the minute they’re just at home. I’ve got family in South Africa, they’re constantly texting and waking up early to watch, so everyone’s really supporting me.’
Edmund had got a sense of the excitement his Australian Open run caused back home while he kept his focus firmly on the semi-final against Cilic.
He stunningly emerged as a contender this fortnight, beating US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in the first round and third seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.
Edmund joked after his victory over Dimitrov that he now knows how British number one Andy Murray feels after finding himself in the spotlight.
‘It’s obviously been a lot more attention than I usually get, just loads more text messages, messages on social media,’ he said.
‘I know my family have been really busy with stuff there. My mate that runs the local tennis club, he’s been asked questions, school teachers and things.
The Rod Laver Arena is pictured at sunset during the semi final match in Melbourne today
Edmund plays a forehand return to Croatia’s Cilic during their men’s singles semi-finals match
Edmund (pictured today) had stunningly emerged as a contender at the event this fortnight
Edmund in action against Cilic during the men’s semifinal match at the Australian Open today
‘The reaction has been amazing. But I’m really just trying to block that out because I’m still playing in the tournament. I have a really good chance, I’m playing well, it’s going to be a great experience.’
Edmund is not short of support in Australia, led by coach Fredrik Rosengren, who has been trying to help his charge deal with everything on and off the court.
The 57-year-old, one of the most experienced coaches in the business, said: ‘I think he realised more and more that his life changed. I hope he enjoys it a lot.
‘This comes with the success. It will help him a lot with his self-esteem to improve as a person to handle all these things. He’s a very down-to-earth, polite guy so I’m not expecting him running tomorrow and buying a Ferrari.
‘He’s not that kind of guy. He’s very humble. But at the same time I think it’s very good for his personality to have this feeling that he’s so good in something.’
Croatia’s Marin Cilic in action against Edmund today during their singles semi-finals match
A win over Cilic (above, today) would have seen Edmund surpass Andy Murray as British #1
His success is an immense source of pride for his company director father Steven, mother Denise (right), who runs a small payroll business, and 21-year-old sister Kelly (left and right)
His sister Kelly (pictured together when they were children) celebrated her big brother’s quarter-final victory by retweeting pictures and videos of the moment he beat Dimitrov
Cilic got through to the semi-finals for the second time in Melbourne after outlasting Rafael Nadal, who retired with a hip muscle problem in the fifth set of their clash.
The 29-year-old lost to Britain’s Dan Evans in the first round there last season but is playing at a different level now and has not been beaten by a player ranked as low as world number 49 Edmund since then.
Edmund had been looking to join select British company, with only Murray and John Lloyd having reached the men’s final here in the Open era.
Victory over Cilic would have seen Edmund surpass Murray as British number one, but it wasn’t to be.
The pair had met once before, in Shanghai last October, when Cilic won in two tight sets.
Kyle Edmund’s teachers share memories of tennis star… including cricket prowess and time he smashed a six through the staff room window
BY MIKE KEEGAN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
At Kyle Edmund’s old school, the state-run Beverley Grammar in the East Yorkshire market town, head teacher Gavin Chappell is worried about the state of the current courts.
‘They are grass and often unplayable,’ he says. ‘We’re actually trying to raise money for artificial courts at the moment.’
In the sports hall, Chappell points out a board which lists alumni who have represented their countries at sport.
Kyle Edmund was a popular pupil at school and never boasted about his tennis ability
Alongside Edmund, ex-Leeds United and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson features, as does ex-England cricketer Neil Mallender.
Rebecca Taylor, 38, taught Edmund religion.
‘He was the perfect student – popular but never cocky,’ she remembers. ‘He was playing tennis before and after school but he always did his homework to an impeccable standard.
I remember in particular a visit to a mosque and a leaflet we asked them to produce on the Muslim faith. His was immaculate, he always went the extra mile and was bright as a button. When he told us he was leaving to go and play tennis we were all upset.’
Edmund has made it through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne
Sam Wright, 23, is a former pupil who returned to work at the school. He was in Edmund’s class and remembers a ‘shy but determined lad’.
‘We had no idea he was that good at tennis because he would never boast about it,’ Wright says. ‘We’re all texting each other now about how well he is doing.’
They are slightly more deadpan about Edmund’s success at the Beverley and East Riding Lawn Tennis Club, where the 23-year-old first picked up a tennis racket when his mum Denise took him to a Saturday kids’ club.
Secretary David Beckett points to a black and white picture of a serious-looking man on the wall of the compact clubhouse.
Edmund left school early to pursue tennis full-time and his efforts have been rewarded
‘That is J Colin Gregory,’ he says. ‘He won the Australian Open in 1929 and was a member here. If Kyle goes all the way, I can’t imagine too many clubs will be able to boast two members who have won it.’
They have one standout sporting memory of Kyle Edmund at the £14,000-a-year Pocklington School, which Edmund attended before moving to Beverley Grammar.
In 2005, the Under 11 cricket team were facing Bramcote School from Scarborough. Edmund strode out to bat. Within 12 overs of schoolboy carnage he had smashed 70 not out – and the window of the staff room.
‘The ball was still rising when it came through the glass,’ recalls head of sport Russell Parker, 51. ‘He was peppering the school building’.
Edmund has developed into a world class tennis player but was a talented cricketer at school
Such was the unexpected nature of the youngster’s assault, that they subsequently moved cricket matches to another pitch a safe distance away.
And Edmund’s bowling figures that day? Three overs, two maidens and three wickets for one run.
‘His hand eye co-ordination was incredible and he saw the ball like a beachball,’ Parker adds. ‘And when he bowled he was spinning it, varying his pace. We thought he would go on to be a professional cricketer.’
At the Edmunds’ large, detached home in the rural village of Tickton, the family’s dog walker is returning Jack Russell, Mylo. A Dail Mail reader, she says Edmund’s mum is ‘lost for words and extremely proud’ about her son’s success.
The 23-year-old has always possessed incredible hand-eye co-ordination
At the end of the lane, sub postmaster John Greenwood sits behind his plastic screen at the Post Office.
‘A lovely lad,’ he says of Edmund. ‘You’d never see him in here for sweets although his dad came in once to send his Davis Cup suit down to London for him.’
Discussion turns to where, if the famous son of Tickton makes it, they will watch the final.
‘There’s the New Inn or the Crown,’ says Greenwood. ‘We’ll probably watch it in there because they have the best telly.’