Norrie debut 'one of the most impressive of all time'

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Davis Cup: Great Britain beaten by Spain despite Cameron Norrie effort

Cameron Norrie gave “one of the most impressive debuts of all time” in Great Britain’s Davis Cup defeat by Spain, says former captain John Lloyd.

The world number 114 came from two sets down to stun Roberto Bautista Agut – ranked 91 places above him – on Friday.

Norrie, 22, was beaten in four sets by Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Sunday as Britain lost the tie 3-1 in Marbella.

“It gives me confidence that I can compete at the same level as a guy like Ramos-Vinolas,” Norrie told BBC Sport.

“At some points in the match the crowd was incredible and I just had to take a step back and think, ‘wow, I’m actually playing here, Spain away, and the crowd is going nuts’. I had a little laugh to myself.

“It’s a crazy experience and it’s changed my perspective on a lot of things.”

Norrie was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in three hours 43 minutes, having played for just over four hours on Friday.

They were his first professional matches on red clay, and the first time he had gone beyond three sets.

Against Bautista Agut, Norrie was a break down at 3-2 in the third set before winning 16 of the last 20 games, while he retrieved deficits in the first and third sets against Ramos-Vinolas before losing the tie-breaks.

Lloyd, who captained Britain’s Davis Cup team from 2006 to 2010, said Norrie’s performance was “staggering”.

“To go against world-class players, with no experience, and to embrace this occasion like he has is quite extraordinary,” the 1977 Australian Open finalist said.

“We’ve got another player coming up now who is going to be tremendous.”

Great Britain captain Leon Smith told BBC Sport: “What Cam’s done is utterly fantastic, I don’t think anyone scripted that.

“Cam certainly over-performed this weekend. I’m genuinely very excited for what can happen for him.”

Smith hopes for stronger team for World Group play-off

Cameron Norrie’s victory against Robert Bautista Agut was his first professional match on red clay

If Norrie had beaten Ramos-Vinolas to level the tie at 2-2, Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund was set to play for Britain in what would have been a deciding fifth rubber.

The world number 26 was not included in Friday’s opening singles rubbers because of a hip injury, but practised on Saturday evening.

Smith said: “Kyle was ready. We had a chat and he was ready to go. That would have been fun, but it wasn’t to be.”

Britain, who were without three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray as he recovers from hip surgery, face a play-off in September in order to stay in the World Group in 2019.

“Irrespective of the draw, we hope we have a stronger team,” Smith said. “I don’t just mean the personnel; I mean the rankings of the players that played this week.”

Norrie added: “It’s a long time until September but I can’t actually wait for that.”

Who is Cameron Norrie?

Leon Smith led Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015

Norrie was born in South Africa to a Welsh mother and Scottish father, moved to Auckland aged three and represented New Zealand in junior tennis.

He came to Britain at 16 and lived in London for three years before attending Texas Christian University, where he studied sociology and excelled in college tennis.

“Having a few years of college tennis in the States, where they get good crowds, good team spirit, a lot of noise around it – he probably thrives in that team environment,” Smith said.

Norrie turned professional last year and played on the main ATP Tour for the first time during the grass-court season, gaining his maiden win against Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos at Eastbourne before losing in the first round of Wimbledon to 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Norrie qualified for the main draw of the US Open and reached the second round, while three titles on the second-tier Challenger Tour helped lift his ranking to just outside the top 100.

Norrie lost in the second round of qualifying for last month’s Australian Open.



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