By Randy Walker
VERO BEACH, Fla. — Former US Open singles finalist Greg Rusedski of Britain was in tow coaching young 18-year-old Kyle Edmund as the British upstart advanced Saturday into his third career final at the “Futures” level of professional tennis.
With Rusedski sitting behind the baseline on the stadium court at The Boulevard Club in this central coastal Florida tennis paradise, Edmund dominated 17-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the final of the $10,000 SorensenRealEstate.com USTA Futures of Vero Beach to face former Australian Open Davis Cupper Carsten Ball.
Rusedski is working with Edmund in Vero Beach – and at next week’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit in Orange Park, Florida – as part of his duties as a coach for Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association and subbing for Edmund’s full-time coach Colin Beecher, who had been traveling with Edmund the last four weeks.
“I enjoy my work with the youngsters,” said Rusedksi, who lost to Patrick Rafter in the 1997 US Open singles final. “We have a good crop of boys. All of the coaches have done a great job. Colin has done a great job with Kyle and Kyle is working hard.”
Edmund has a soft boyish voice with small patches of reddish blond peach fuzz on his chin but he has the crushing forehand of the toughest man. Ranked No. 513 in the world – and No. 72 in the world among juniors 18 and under – Edmund advanced into the Vero Beach final without the loss of a set in his four matches.
“He’s in his last year of juniors,” said Rusedski of Edmund. “He’s playing more of the Futures events right now. That’s what you have to do at this age rather than playing the juniors. You have to make that transition. He has a good attitude. He works hard. He’s got all the ingredients.”
Edmund agreed with the assessment that the tide of British tennis has risen with the success of Andy Murray, who became the first British man to win a major singles title in 76 years when he won the US Open last September. Edmund said he has benefited for practice sessions with Murray.
“I’ve hit with Andy,” said Edmund. “He’s been really good when he is back in the UK and he is looking for someone to hit with. He’s asked me a few times, which has been great for me. A really nice experience to hit with him. It’s just all about taking in as much information as you can from him. He’s been through all of this. He knows what it takes to get to the top, so to hit with him is a good thing.”
Edmund’s two previous final showings at Futures events also came on American “green” clay courts late in 2012. He beat American Chase Buchanan to win the title in Birmingham, England but then lost to Buchanan in the final of Destin, Fla.
Ball advanced into the final with a 7-5, 6-3 win over 19-year-old American Mitchell Krueger.