Nor­rie reaps the re­wards for catch­ing run­ning bug in lock­down

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Us Open - By Si­mon Briggs

Some­times, you can play too much ten­nis. Just ask Cameron Nor­rie, the Bri­tish No3. Hav­ing strug­gled for form over the first two months of 2020, he shelved his racket dur­ing lock­down and picked up his run­ning shoes in­stead.

On Wednesday night, the 25-year-old moved into the last 32 of a ma­jor for the first time by beat­ing Fed­erico Co­ria (a man des­tined to be over­shad­owed by his brother, for­mer French Open fi­nal­ist Guillermo). His re­ward is a winnable third-round meet­ing with Ale­jan­dro Davi­dovich Fok­ina to­day

Nor­rie (right) re­vealed his up­swing had been prompted by a month of in­tense five and 10 kilo­me­tre time-tri­als in the neigh­bour­hood around his par­ents’ Auck­land house.

“I took a full month or six weeks off, but I think that helped me. Just get­ting to re­lax and liv­ing the sim­ple life.

“I was do­ing these 10k runs – post­ing on Strava in com­pe­ti­tion with some of my friends. It was re­ally hilly where I was, so it wasn’t easy to find a quick track, but I did a 36min 45sec and a 5k in 17min 20sec. I can’t de­cide if I’m bet­ter at 5k or 10k, but I’ve got some good genes, as my mum is a good run­ner.”

Nor­rie had made a scratchy start to the year, and he ad­mits now that he was putting too much pres­sure on him­self. For him, lock­down was a chance to re­boot – a point he has proved with his two wins in New York. The first, against world No13 Diego Schwartz­man, found Nor­rie fend­ing off two match points be­fore he even­tu­ally closed out a fiveset win in 3hr 59min.

In the fi­nal mo­ments, he was still bounc­ing around like Zebedee while Schwartz­man was racked with cramps. All those en­durance runs had paid off – and in a very lit­eral sense, be­cause Nor­rie has al­ready earned al­most £123,000 this week.

“I feel pretty for­tu­nate to be here,” said Nor­rie. “It wasn’t a clean per­for­mance against Schwartz­man and I could eas­ily have shanked a fore­hand on match point. I haven’t played my best ten­nis yet this week but I am very pleased with my at­ti­tude. I think the five-set for­mat suits me well so I use that to my ad­van­tage. I feel phys­i­cally great.”

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