Cameron Norrie hopes his new status as one of the leading names in tennis will earn him prime billing at Wimbledon next round after dodging the rain in a straight-sets win over Pablo Andujar.
The 26-year-old is the highest-ranked British player in the world and ninth seed but that was not enough to get him on a covered court for his opening clash.
Instead, he was first up on Court Two and was twice forced off court by the weather before recording a 6-0 7-6 (3) 6-3 victory over veteran Spaniard Andujar.
1st Brit win at @Wimbledon 2022
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 27, 2022
The second interruption came after Norrie had had three match points, and he needed just four minutes and six points on the resumption to complete the job.
He said: “I wasn’t too aware of it until someone shouted, ‘Come on, Cam, get it done before the rain’. Obviously I was trying to get it done. Then I looked over, there was a huge grey cloud.
“After that I think I had one more match point. It would be nice to get it done earlier, but it is what it is. It’s tough. You’re there waiting another hour, you’re on edge. You know just had chances to finish the match.
“Could be in the showers, could be eating. Just try to block that out and come out and focus. I came out a lot better the second time. It was nice to get it done in straight sets, for sure.”
Andujar, 36, had won just three tour level matches in his whole career so this was certainly a draw Norrie could look to take advantage of.
The 26-year-old has become the most dependable player in British tennis, winning two more ATP Tour titles already this season and breaking into the top 10 for the first time, but he has yet to make it past the third round at a grand slam.
He raced through the first set in just 23 minutes before the first rain break, then fought back from an early break down in the second to take it on a tie-break before moving ahead early in the third.
One of the perks of being a seed is having a place in the elite locker room, something Norrie is belatedly experiencing for the first time.
He said: “I thought last year after making the final at Queen’s, I think I was seeded 28 or 26, I was like, ‘Oh, I made it to the seeded locker rooms’.
“I went to walk in there. The security guy was like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not allowed in’. It was the top 14 seeds or something last year for maybe Covid reasons. I was like, ‘Wow’. I was so looking forward to doing it.
“It’s so good. Especially as they put my locker right next to Novak’s. I was asking him how Centre Court was, talking to him a little bit. Mostly all his stuff was in the way of mine. I was trying to get past him, try to get to my locker.
“It’s definitely a different feel coming in this year and being in that locker room, being around those players, having the chance to talk to them and see them around.”
Norrie does not crave the spotlight but, having seen Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray both given Centre Court on Monday, he is hoping he might step up for his second-round clash with another Spaniard, Jaume Munar.
“It would be nice to play on a show court, especially with the weather,” he said. “Centre Court and Court One have the roof so you know you’re guaranteed to play.
“I was really happy to be first on, get it going, kick it off. I would like to be on a bigger court, but I’ll play on any court. Court Two was great. I had a great support behind me today.”