Ahead of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday, British No.1 tennis player Kyle Edmund tells us all about his adoration for the men in red. The interview was conducted at The Queen's Club ahead of this year's Fever-Tree Championships in June.
Early memories of supporting Liverpool?
From being very young I just loved the kit, the crowd, the atmosphere. I had Liverpool bed sheets, curtains, everything. I would watch them whenever I could.
Are you a nervous watcher? How does it compare to being on court?
When I’m at home I get nervous watching them because I’m on my own. When I’m at games I’m really into it, getting up, shouting with the rest of the crowd - the opposite to what I’m like on the tennis court where I’m pretty low key and keep myself to myself. When you’re on the court you’re in control of everything so I find it easier to control the nerves than when I’m watching my team and I’ve got no control.
Last time they won it. 2005. Your memories.
It was a school night. I was 10. I’ll never forget it. My mum was telling me that I needed to go to bed but I said no, I’m watching this. She let me just that once. If it happened now I think I would value it more because I realise now how huge the Champions League is. I don’t think I did then - I was just really happy because it was my team, and they came back to win.
How often are you able to go?
I’ve been quite a bit this season. I was at the home leg against Man City. It was amazing. The atmosphere was incredible. It was the best football match I’ve ever been to in terms of the atmosphere. It felt like the crowd were playing against City themselves. Obviously it helps when you’re 3-0 up after 30 minutes! Hopefully something similar will happen against Roma. Liverpool are good at playing at Anfield in the Champions League. Taking a lead to Rome is going to be the key - something to play for, fight for and hold on to in Rome.
Over the years, your favourite player. And why?
My favourite player of all time would be Gerrard for what he’s done for the club and Salah has had an amazing season, winning the PFA award yesterday, but I really like Roberto Firmino. His workmate is good, he’s a really intelligent player, and I like his celebrations when he scores!
How good are you at football? Did it ever go through your head to play?
I’ve always loved football, I played a lot but don’t know how good I could have been. There are better players around than me, but I was decent, although I would probably have been better at cricket. What’s it like playing on this Centre Court here? It’s an amazing tournament - being in the locker room here at The Queen’s Club you see all of the old champions. It’s unique playing in front of a clubhouse rather than in a big stadium. And it’s home to me, I live just down the road and it’s a great feeling. I had a great experience beating Gilles Simon here a couple of years ago and playing against Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. You reached your first final recently.
What would it mean to you to do something like that here?
I’d love to do it. One of my aims is to win a tournament, but it’s another box ticked in my career to reach a final after losing a few semis. And I can learn from it. So far this year it’s been going well - I had a great result in Australia, and it’s nice to get going again after being ill after Australia. Making that final in Marrakesh has set me up for the busy time ahead - first the clay where I think I can play well, and then the grass at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s, and then Wimbledon, which is obviously a big deal for me.
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