Cameron Norrie ponders lessons from US Open adventure

Cameron Norrie makes a return against Pablo Carreno Busta on his way to a second-round defeat in the US Open on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
Cameron Norrie makes a return against Pablo Carreno Busta on his way to a second-round defeat in the US Open on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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When Cameron Norrie next steps out on to a match court, he may be feeling a little alone. He will be in Cary, North Carolina, for a Challenger event where, if his memory serves him well, three or four people will be wandering by.

But he will have with him the memories of his stay in New York, his run through the US Open qualifying tournament and his first grand slam, main draw win. And there will be memories, too, of his second-round loss to Pablo Carreno Busta on Wednesday night.

The 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 loss is, obviously, disappointing but the experience of playing under the lights in the noise and the hubbub of Flushing Meadows will serve him well. The 22-year-old is learning fast as he climbs the rankings – he should be placed around the No 182 mark after his New York exploits – and he wants to learn more.

“I think what I learned is that it’s just such little margins in how good the top guys are,” Norrie said. “They are willing to fight every point, their concentration and focus is so good and today I lost a lot of focus, I found it tough to concentrate on what I was doing well. I think just the focus of the top guys is so solid.

“I was a little bit disappointed with how I started on that court. It was pretty loud and it was kind of like an awkward time of day. The lights were on but it was still light. I lost a little bit of focus early on and then he broke me. But I felt OK. It was kind of nice to play against him. I allowed myself to work my way into the match a little bit. He was too good today but I enjoyed it.”

Norrie believes that his fitness levels are good enough to compete at the top level and his game is developing well enough – although he wants to make his serve more of a consistent weapon – but it is just the business of gaining experience that will take time.

“I think I belong here and I can play at this level. I guess I can take confidence from that and I can compete with these top guys. I think I’m ready now, I just need more of these matches.”

As Norrie prepares for the poetically named Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, he has no defined goals in mind, no rankings targets, but at the back of his mind is the thought that he could earn himself a place on Britain’s Davis Cup team next year.

“We’ll see how I’m playing at the time and what surface,” he said. “I feel the way I’m doing I deserve to be in the team but things can change and anything can happen.”

Kyle Edmund, pictured, Britain’s No 2 and the world No 42, is already established on that team and today he faces Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round in New York.

The 18-year-old Canadian has ploughed up the rankings this year to No 69 although his greatest claim to fame is getting himself defaulted in the Davis Cup while playing Edmund in Edmonton in February. He swatted a ball away in frustration and hit the umpire by mistake.

“In a funny way, I think that incident actually helped him mature because since then he has done good,” Edmund said. “It hasn’t put him down. He has really learned from it and moved forward in a positive way and realised that that behaviour is just something he has got to be better at. He has had a good year since then.”

That good year includes beating Edmund in three sets at Queen’s Club and beating Rafael Nadal on his way to the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event in Montreal at the start of August.