Kiwi-raised tennis star Cameron Norrie lost his shoes before $1.7m win at Indian Wells | Stuff.co.nz
New Zealand-raised tennis star Cameron Norrie has quipped that “luckily I didn’t have a wedding ring attached’’ after losing his shoes before his career-changing $1.7 millon ATP Tour title win in California.
Norrie won the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells on Sunday (Monday NZ time) in new shoes after his preferred pair were taken from his locker overnight.
It was the second shoes saga of the tournament after former Wimbledon and Olympic champion Andy Murray lost his – with his wedding ring attached – on the eve of the opening round. Murray’s shoes and ring were later recovered.
Norrie, who now competes for Britain after representing New Zealand as a junior, saw the funny side of his own shoes story.
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“Every day I left my shoes on top of the locker. I think someone, I don’t know who it was, maybe someone from the cleaners or something last night, came through and they threw the three pairs of shoes that I had away,” Norrie said after his 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
“I looked all day. I had everyone looking. I don’t know what the people have against the Brits with stealing the shoes, but I didn’t manage to get them back. Just had to go out there with a fresh pair of shoes. Luckily, I didn’t have a wedding ring attached. I didn’t lose that, so it was a bonus for me.”
Norrie said on ATP Tour.com that he didn’t think the new shoes “mattered too much’’.
“Ideally I like to play with shoes that I've been using for maybe five or six hits or practices or warmups. I like to have them a little bit used. They feel a bit heavy in general if they're a bit newer,” he said. “A couple times I was just thinking about it, probably not the best thing. You don't want to be thinking about your shoes. A little bit to get used to.
“At one point I said, ‘All right, these are the shoes I got, I'm just going to focus on what I can control right now.’ I wore them in a little bit, came good in the end.”
Norrie’s reaction to the shoes setback earned praise from his coach, Facundo Lugones.
“It’s a very strange situation,” Lugones said on The Guardian . “But credit to Cam. He never panicked. Even before the match I was more p....d off than him. I tried not to show him. I just couldn’t believe it.
“For anyone who has played tennis at a decent level, it’s very tough to play with brand new shoes. They’re really hard, especially on these courts. You get stuck a lot.
“In a match he was going to have to run like crazy to get every ball back. Then you come to play your biggest match of your career and you don’t have your shoes.”
Norrie – runner-up at the 2019 Auckland Open – was born in Johannesburg but moved to New Zealand aged three and began his tennis career here.
He moved to London at 16 and qualified to represent Britain due to having a Scottish father and Welsh mother.
Norrie is the first Briton to win the Indian Wells title – ranked by some ATP Tour observers as the unofficial fifth Grand Slam.
It was his first Masters 1000 title and assures Norrie of a world top-20 ranking.