Cameron Norrie has revealed that his tennis shoes were taken from his locker overnight before he contested his final at the BNP Paribas Open, forcing him to play the biggest match of his life with brand new shoes.
“I got to the tennis today, every day I left my shoes on top of the locker. I think someone, I don’t know who it was, maybe someone from the cleaners or something last night, came through and they threw the three pairs of shoes that I had away,” said Norrie after he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells.
“I looked all day. I had everyone looking. I don’t know what the people have against the Brits with stealing the shoes, but I didn’t manage to get them back. Just had to go out there with a fresh pair of shoes. Yeah, it was just difficult. Luckily I didn’t have a wedding ring attached. I didn’t lose that, so it was a bonus for me.”
While Norrie found humour in his predicament, referencing Andy Murray’s recent lost shoes in Indian Wells , his coach, Facundo Lugones, was less amused. He believes that a year or two ago, Norrie may have lost the match and blamed his shoes but he has transformed his mentality.
“It’s a very strange situation,” said Lugones. “But credit to Cam. He never panicked. Even before the match I was more pissed off than him. I tried not to show him. I just couldn’t believe it. Obviously, for anyone who has played tennis at a decent level, it’s very tough to play with brand-new shoes. They’re really hard, especially on these courts. You get stuck a lot. In a match he was going to have to run like crazy to get every ball back. Then you come to play your biggest match of your career and you don’t have your shoes.”
Norrie is the first British player to ever win at Indian Wells, which is now the biggest non-invitational ATP tournament and fifth biggest overall behind the grand slam tournaments. Although Norrie has reached six ATP finals this year, the joint most on the men’s tour alongside Novak Djokovic, his only previous career title came at Los Cabos in July, an ATP 250 event.
Norrie has risen to a new career high ranking of 15. With his new position of 10th in the ATP race, he has offered himself a good chance of reaching the ATP Finals in Turin. Norrie says that he will play in Vienna, Paris and Stockholm, the final three tournaments of the season: “It would be nice to make it, but I’m going to keep going, keep taking care of what I can and handling what I can,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”