Wimbledon 2017: Ivanisevic backs Edmund to become a big noise at The Championships

Goran Ivanisevic knows a thundering serve when it flashes by in a furry blur of yellow and believes Kyle Edmund has the weapon to cause some damage at this year’s Wimbledon.

The big four of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal – all 30 plus and counting – remain the smart money choice for this year’s championship.

But sooner, rather than later, there will be a changing of the guard here, with a whole generation ready to step up, such as Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Ivanisevic’s coaching charge Marin Cilic.

However, Ivanisevic – who famously won the 2001 title as wildcard – believes Edmund has the talent to force himself into contention too, if he starts taking his chances when it matters.

“He is progressing every year and getting better and better,” said Ivanisevic, an ambassador for HSBC, the official banking partner of The Championships.

“He is one of the future upcoming guys who can dominate in men’s tennis.

“I like his serve and his aggressive nature. He is not afraid to hit a ball which I always like and he always goes for it.

“He had a great last year and he’s doing good this year. He is young but it seems like he has been around a long time. But he has a good game and in the future he is going to be a very dangerous player.

“He is definitely capable of reaching the later stages of a Grand Slam in the near future, winning one will need more work but he’s hungry.”

World number 50 Edmund has lost both his matches on grass coming into Wimbledon, to lowly ranked Canadian Denis Shapovalov at Queen’s Club and similarly ranked Donald Young at Eastbourne.

However, two wins at the French Open in Paris have given him some cause for confidence on the biggest stage.

If he beats British qualifier Alex Ward on Tuesday then he faces potential matches against Gael Monfils and Queen’s winner Feliciano Lopez, with three-time champion Novak Djokovic probably then lurking in the fourth round.

Edmund has shown moments of class in match ups with top players, including Djokovic, Nadal, Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro and Thiem, this season.

But tight defeats to the world’s best need to be converted into victories.

“I’m getting closer but you need to win these matches to really move up the rankings,” said Edmund.

“It’s been an okay season but no more than that. I’m not running out of time but I know I’m at the age where the responsibility for my career is mine alone. I need to optimise my opportunities.

“When I first played Wimbledon four years ago it was a huge step, I’d only played a couple of ATP Tour matches before that.

“I know feel comfortable in this environment, I know I belong there and I’ve got the game to do some damage. I need to trust in the hard work that’s got me here and keep working harder.”

Tennis can be hard knocks with first round rival Ward a player, six years Edmund’s senior, whose promise, it’s fair to say, has not been realised.

Ward, a regular hitting partner of Andy Murray, was beaten in qualifying for six straight years before finally making the main draw last year as a wildcard, losing in the first round to David Goffin.

He dragged his world ranking to a career high 242 last season but a wrist injury forced him to miss the rest of the year, sending his mark plummeting to the 800s.

Edmund has banked £300,000 in prize money this season while Ward has earned just £6,600, maxing out credit cards and spending this week sleeping at a friend’s house in nearby Surbiton.

“It has been a bit of a struggle this season and I haven’t won a lot of matches,” admitted Ward.

“Making Wimbledon means everything, last year I was a wildcard, this time I really feel I’ve earned my place.

“I know Kyle a bit and it’s going to be tough. An all-British match will be fun and I know Kyle a little bit, which should also make it interesting.”

HSBC is the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, and shares the fans’ passion that makes Wimbledon unique. Follow @HSBC_Sport.


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