Cameron Norrie was philosophical in defeat following his upset 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 Australian Open loss to American Sebastian Korda on Monday.
“I was never really in the match at all, partly down a break to start all three sets, and then I couldn’t get in the return games at all. [Korda] was too good, but I’m disappointed with my level,” Norrie said. “I think that’s maybe my worst match in the last eight months or so. Disappointing, but it is what it is.”
The 26-year-old Briton attributed the defeat to a bad day at the office, as opposed to any physical or mental hangover from his exploits last year. Norrie won his maiden ATP Tour title in Los Cabos in July (d. Nakashima), before a stunning Masters 1000 victory at Indian Wells in October (d. Basilashvili) that helped earn him a career high ranking of 12 by the end of the 2021 season.
“I’m feeling good physically, I had a week off to prepare, prepared as well as I could, and I was just slow,” he said. “I was missing routine backhands, which I never miss. I honestly can’t put a finger on it. I just need to get better.”
#NextGenATP star Korda extended his ATP Head2Head lead over Norrie to 2-0. The American also enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 and, as he told ATPTour.com this week, is enjoying the extra pressure that has come with his dramatic rise in the ATP Rankings. Norrie was impressed with the way the 21-year-old shut down any openings he had. “Any time I had a chance to kind of come back, he served his way out of it,” said the Briton. “On the bigger points he was much better than me.”
Like Korda, Norrie is less focused on whether his rivals now see him as a prize scalp on the tour than on how his own game can improve to bring further success. “It [Monday’s match] may have even been difficult if I was playing great, so I’m more just disappointed with my performance and the way I executed, but I had a great attitude and tried as hard as I could, right to the last point.
“It’s disappointing to start the year with this match. I just need to raise my standards and execute a lot better.”
Performing well at Grand Slams and Masters 1000 events will be key in Norrie’s bid to crack the Top 10, and the Briton may adapt his schedule to achieve that goal. “I think I’m going to try and be a little bit smarter in terms of trying to peak for the bigger events,” said Norrie. “If you’re going to move up the rankings you’re going to have to play well in the big tournaments.”
He can look to compatriot Andy Murray for inspiration in his quest for success. The former World No. 1 reached his first ATP final since 2019 last week in Sydney (l. to Karatsev), but Norrie particularly admires his work ethic off the court. “I can see that he’s working so hard. I think more so the off-court and how much he’s taking care of the practices and how much he’s enjoying the competing and the little details.
“To get some wins was great for him. For me it’s no surprise for him to make another final. He could have easily won the title there. He was disappointed not to do that, but it’s so impressive to see him still playing at that level.”