Greg Rusedski has tipped Kyle Edmund to finish 2018 as the British number one.
The 23-year-old will play his third-round match at the Australian Open against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Friday after two very impressive performances.
First Edmund battled for a five-set win over US Open finalist Kevin Anderson before demolishing Denis Istomin and he has a great chance of reaching his first grand slam quarter-final.
This is the first slam where Edmund has flown the British flag alone in the men’s draw in the absence of Andy Murray, who has returned home after undergoing hip surgery in Melbourne.
Murray is hoping to return for the grass-court season but former British number one Rusedski believes he may find himself playing catch-up to Edmund.
Rusedski, who spent a short spell coaching Edmund, has been particularly impressed by the progress the Yorkshireman has made since linking up with veteran Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren late last year.
“He said he was looking for a coach who’d done it with the very top players and that’s what Freddie brings – belief and confidence,” said Eurosport analyst Rusedski.
“Last year he lost so many tight matches, matches he should have won in three sets but this year he looks like he’s got over that hurdle. I think Freddie’s on him every day about attitude – he’ll be saying I want positive body language, I want you to go after your backhand a little bit more.
“He’s always had those weapons but now with that new mindset the sky is the limit and I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of 2018 he’ll be the new British number one, because Andy Murray is going to be out for such a long time.”
Murray took Edmund under his wing, as he has with a number of young British players, inviting him to training camps in Miami. And Annabel Croft believes the former world number one’s influence is paying off.
“Kyle’s done a lot of work under the guidance of Andy Murray, he’s been around Andy a lot,” said Croft.
“I think he now knows what work needs to be put in because it’s one thing to have talent as a tennis player but it’s another thing to bring that talent to fruition – that work rate has to be applied but I think we’re seeing that with Kyle now.
“There’s a little bit more of a strut about him and it feels like he’s really clear-minded about the decision making he has to do in matches.”
Edmund’s most difficult opponent on Friday could well be the conditions, with temperatures forecast to exceed 40C in Melbourne. The good news for the Yorkshireman, the highest ranked player in his section at 49, is that his match against Basilashvili has been scheduled first on at 11am and he should avoid the very worst of the heat.