CAMERON NORRIE is the new kid on the British tennis block but he has already felt the Andy Murray effect.
Like Murray, Norrie’s family will be thousands of miles away when the British No 5 resumes his US Open campaign today following his first-round victory over Dmitry Tursunov.
But father David, speaking from the family home in New Zealand, believes his son is putting into practice lessons learnt this summer.
David said: “Andy came up to Cameron in the locker room at the Queen’s Club and introduced himself.
“They hit together quite a lot before Wimbledon and the experience of playing and preparing with Andy has shown Cameron just how focused you must be to reach the top.
“Cameron was amazed at how Andy didn’t want to waste a single ball in practice. He’s a great role model. He comes across so well.
“I don’t understand those who don’t like him. Off the court he’s erudite, witty and balanced.
“He shows great humility as well. He maybe knew Cameron lacked the courage to go up and introduce himself at Queen’s, so he did it himself, which speaks volumes.”
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Norrie’s parents were there to see his Grand Slam debut against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as a Wimbledon wildcard but other plans prevented David from being in New York to see his son win his first Grand Slam match.
David said: “It was 3am in New Zealand and it wasn’t live on television so we had to settle on the Livescore updates on the US Open app on my mobile phone.
“My wife and I went to Wimbledon and it was a wonderful experience.
“But we live in New Zealand and you have to be realistic: we can’t go everywhere we want. My trip to France – a group of us are cycling a couple of the Tour de France mountain stages – has been a year in the planning.
“It would have been great to have been in New York, but I had already made my commitment to France.”
Like Le Tour, the road to the top of tennis is long and hard.
Norrie junior’s route so far has been more roundabout than most after being born in South Africa, but the family left when Norrie was aged three due to increasing violence in the country.
They went to New Zealand, where he lived until he was 16 when he left for London.
After a spell with the Lawn Tennis Association, he end up up at university in America.
David added: “Cameron’s upbringing has stood him in good stead for his tennis career as you must be a good traveller.
“I’d like to think he can get into the top 50 over the next couple of years and establish himself there. If that happens, why not aim even higher?
“The average age of a player in the top 100 is 28 so he still has six years to reach his peak.
“Cameron was nervous before the match with Tursunov because it was the first time he’d made the main draw of a Slam on his own merits.
“Moving forward, the first round experience will stand him in good stead.”
Beating No 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta today will be a tall order but whatever happens it will be another staging post for Norrie.
More will be expected of fellow Brit and fellow 22 year old Kyle Edmund, who beat second-round opponent Steve Johnson only last week in Winston Salem.
Edmund is also the player British tennis is looking to the most to fill the void in the men’s game when Murray stops playing.
Edmund, who has been mentored by Murray since he was a teenager, said: Realistically in my head I’m aware that Andy is not going to be around for ever.
“Or he’s going to stop before I stop, put it that way, and I guess I’m the next one in the rankings, or Evo plays again or there’s Aljaz.
“I think Andy will still play for a few more years so I’ve still got time to play.
“When it comes to it, it comes to it.”
Murray’s contribution, on and off the court, will be almost impossible to match. But Norrie and Edmund will do their best, a challenge which continues today.
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