Kyle Edmund reveling in his solo act at the Australian Open


MELBOURNE, Australia -- Just like Stan Wawrinka hid in the shadow of Roger Federer for all those years, Britain's Kyle Edmund endured a sheltered experience as he made his way on the tour.

Shielded behind the presence of Andy Murray, Edmund evolved without much fanfare and with relatively little expectation -- something that has not always been the case for players from his country.

Without Murray in the draw this year, Edmund, 22, has been front and center in Melbourne. And now his secret is out. This boy can play.

"His forehand is one of the great shots in the game," former British No. 1 Tim Henman told "It's definitely in the top five on the tour. He's more mature. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together."

On Thursday, Edmund will take on Marin Cilic, a former US Open champion, in the semifinals of the Australian Open. It will be Edmund's first Grand Slam final four showing. He deserves his spot. Edmund beat No. 11 Kevin Anderson in a five-set opening round, played another match that went the distance, and Tuesday, he beat No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray always admired Edmund's worth ethic, even inviting him to train on a number of offseason camps. Murray showed Edmund what kind of effort was required to reach the top.

Training with one of the world's best players only helped Edmund. We first saw a glimpse of this when Edmund helped Britain during the 2015 championship Davis Cup run.

As Edmund continued to improve, Murray eventually suggested it might be time for him to branch out on his own. This winter, Edmund trained in the Bahamas with new coach Fredrik Rosengren.

"I was 22 and at [an age where] you need to become more of your own man," Edmund said. "We'd talked a bit about that the year before, and Andy had mentioned it, but of course for me to hit with Andy is always good. That's what I wanted to do with him."

Edmund took two British juniors with him as hitting partners and benefited from being able to plan the camp around his needs. "In hindsight, that really worked out because of the results at the start of the year," he said.?

Edmund's run to the semis in Melbourne has coincided with Murray's absence. Happenstance, maybe, but there might be something in the fact that when faced with doing things on his own, he has stepped up. And it's not the first time.

In the summer of 2016, when Murray sat out the Davis Cup quarterfinal in Serbia, Edmund won both of his singles matches as Britain reached the semifinals.

"That was a learning experience in itself," said Edmund, who is already guaranteed to rise from his current ranking of 49 to 26 (and who will replace Murray as British No. 1 if he reaches the final). "It really went well for me, because I stepped up and took responsibility.

"I knew playing that weekend there was responsibility on me, so when you're able to grow up and play with responsibility and pressure, it only does you good."

Edmund now has a chance to become only the fourth British man to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era. A semifinal showdown will bring on a new set of nerves and pressure, but Rosengren says he thinks Edmunds has a chance -- if he can stay relaxed.

"He played Cilic in Shanghai [losing 6-3, 7-6], and he didn't play well, so I think he will go in there with pretty good confidence," Rosengren said. "We will find some things to really focus on, but he has to bring his level. At this stage of the tournament, you won't win matches when you play bad."

Murray has been following Edmund's exploits from the UK, and regardless of how he does against Cilic, the Scot will be proud of "Kedders," a nickname derived from the first letter of his first name and his surname.

The boy done well.