Norrie Ready For Rafa Challenge: ‘Maybe I’ll Message Andy’ For Tips
Britain’s Cameron Norrie will be exploring every avenue in preparation for his Australian Open third-round clash against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal – and countryman Andy Murray might be getting a phone call as a result.
The 25-year-old recovered from a set down to overcome Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3) in three hours and 31 minutes on Thursday. Norrie moved into the third round at a Grand Slam for the second time, after last year’s US Open.
As Norrie gears up for his first clash against the 2009 champion Nadal, he will be hoping that Murray has a few tips to share with him from some of the former World No. 1’s seven ATP Head2Head victories from 24 matches against the Spaniard.
“I mean, that would definitely be a good thing to do…I’m going to leave [the game plan] up to my coach, but maybe message Andy and see what his thoughts are,” Norrie said in his post-match press conference. “We play obviously pretty different, me being lefty, but he's definitely got some good tips in there.”
Former champion Nadal is chasing history in Melbourne as he seeks his 21st Grand Slam trophy, and his second Australian Open crown. By comparison, his opponent Norrie – who is facing a member of the Big 3 for the first time – comes into the encounter with ‘nothing to lose’. It’s a combination that has spelled danger for other champions in the past.
“That's a philosophy, nothing to lose. But at the same time, he has a match to lose or to win, the same like me,” Nadal said in his own press conference. “We are in the third round of a Grand Slam. I cannot expect an easy opponent in front [of me]. Norrie will not be an easy opponent…
“I need to be playing at [a] high level if I want to keep having chances to be through. And I am looking forward to trying to make that happen.”
Norrie needed four sets to battle past his compatriot Daniel Evans, the No. 30 seed, in his opening match, booking his second-round clash against Safiullin. Norrie and Safiullin's match began on Court 8, but after a two-hour delay due to rain, it was moved to Margaret Court Arena in order to be completed – a change that re-energised the Brit in the fourth set.
Unfortunately for Norrie, there is no rain in the weather forecast for Saturday, when he’s set to take the court against No. 2 seed Nadal. The British lefty, who is in Melbourne with coach Facundo Lugones, is determined to impose his game and treat the Spanish star like ‘just another player’.
“I think [Nadal has] obviously not really got many weaknesses, so I'm just gonna have to do what I do as well as I can and implement my game and try to play the points on my terms,” Norrie said. “Otherwise if he's the one dictating, it's gonna be tough and I'm gonna be running around a lot.
“He's such a legend of the game, but on Saturday night, [he is] just another player. He's a human being. [I need to] just go out there and give it to him and see what happens.”