Norrie relishing ‘underdog’ opportunity against Draper

Cameron Norrie banished any doubts cast over him in the run-in to Wimbledon and is now relishing his ‘underdog’ opportunity against British No. 1 Jack Draper in the second round.

It was a comprehensive victory in straight sets for the British No. 2 in his All England Club opener, coming up against world No. 67 Facundo Diaz Acosta and brushing him aside in a 7-5 7-5 6-3 win.

Following up from Katie Boulter’s rousing win on No. 3 Court, Norrie meant business after first-round defeats at both the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne and the cinch Championships at Queen’s Club.

A British tie between the Norrie and Davis Cup teammate Draper awaits on Thursday and Norrie knows he will have to be at his best if he is to put any dent in the newly-installed British No. 1’s reign.

He said: “It’s a surprise kind of being the underdog for the first time in a while. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to have to play my best level to have a chance with Jack. He’s playing so well at the moment.

“He’s ranked ahead of me, his results have been better than mine, especially over the grass court season.

“He beat [Carlos] Alcaraz in Queen’s, I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s the favourite there.

“Physically, he’s the best I’ve ever seen him, he has a great team around him, he won a really tough match today, he’s at the top of his game.”

Following opening defeat at Eastbourne against Emil Ruusuvuori in straight sets, Norrie ran five miles to rid any uncertainty over form ahead of his Wimbledon return.

It seemed like muscle memory in the 28-year-old’s SW19 opener, two years after making the semi-final at the All England Club.

And, with memories of that four-set battle with Novak Djokovic flooding back, Norrie feels he has given himself every chance at securing back-to-back wins for the first time since March.

He said: “I want to win the match for me, I mean, it’s a good challenge. It’s exactly the matches you want to be playing.

“It’s tough that Jack and I have to play so early in the draw.

“I actually can’t wait for the match. It’s been a while since I played another Brit.

“There’s no better player to play than the No. 1 Brit right now.

“I think just the way that I’ve been preparing, practicing, I knew I had lots of good tennis in there.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

Image: Reuters via Beat Media Group subscription

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