Cameron Norrie celebrates after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 17 2021. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA
Cameron Norrie celebrates after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 17 2021. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA

Cameron Norrie said playing Sunday’s Indian Wells final in a brand new pair of shoes was not ideal, but the Briton was able to see the funny side of things after getting past Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Norrie, who became the first British man to win the Masters 1000 tournament, discovered shortly before the biggest match of his career that three pairs of well-worn shoes he had left on his locker overnight had disappeared.

I think someone, I don’t know who it was ... maybe someone from the cleaners came through and they threw the three pairs that I had away,” Norrie told reporters.

“Luckily I didn’t have a wedding ring attached [to them]. I didn’t lose that, so it was a bonus,” he said, referring to an incident involving Andy Murray before the tournament.

The former world No 1, who had made an online appeal for help after a pair of shoes went missing with his wedding ring attached, said later he was back in his wife’s “good books” after their return.

Norrie was not as fortunate, however.

“I looked all day, had everyone looking. I don’t know what the people have against Brits with stealing shoes, but I didn’t manage to get them back. Just had to go out there with a fresh pair. Yeah, it was difficult,” Norrie said.

“A couple times I was thinking about it, probably not the best thing. You don’t want to be thinking about your shoes ... At one point I said, ‘All right, these are the shoes I’ve got, I’m going to focus on what I can control.'

“I wore them in a little bit, came good in the end.”

Norrie sealed the win when Basilashvili sent a forehand long on championship point.

“What can I say? Obviously, I’m so happy. It’s my biggest title so I can’t really describe it right now,” said Norrie, who was playing in his sixth final of his breakout year.

Britain’s Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have all played in the men’s finals at Indian Wells but finished runner-up.

The 26-year-old Norrie, born in SA to a Scottish father and Welsh mother, won his first ATP singles title at Mexico’s Los Cabos Open in July. His grandfather Glyn Williams is a former editor of the Daily Dispatch.

Norrie has shown steady improvement all year and expertly executed his strategy of forcing Basilashvili into long rallies in the final, giving himself the opportunity to dictate points from the baseline.

He congratulated Basilashvili on his outstanding tournament, where the 29-year-old stunned world No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals and American Taylor Fritz in the semis.

“I’m sorry it went my way. You deserved it just as much as I did,” Norrie said. “Well done to you and your team on a great week.”

Basilashvili said he was disappointed but looked forward to returning to the event, which is sometimes referred to as the fifth major.

Reuters

 

 

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