LONDON (Reuters) - The sustained success of Andy Murray looked to have consigned the concept of the plucky British loser to the Wimbledon history books but Cameron Norrie rolled back the years on Monday as he could hardly have been happier after a first-day thrashing.
Norrie was anything but chastened by his 6-3 6-2 6-2 defeat at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he smiled his way through surely one of the most upbeat news conferences ever given by a first-round loser.
”It was such a great experience playing someone like Tsonga,“ said the 21-year-old wildcard. ”I started well but he didn’t really give me a chance to get into the match with his serve.“I just wish I could have played and returned a little bit better, but it was all good.”
Not too many objective observers would have opted for “all good” to describe his 30 unforced errors in a match where he never remotely threatened so much as a break point.
Norrie, however, refused to don the sackcloth and ashes.
”He played good, and I was happy with the way I played,“ he insisted. ”I enjoyed every moment of it.
“I tried my hardest and there’s nothing more I can do. I‘m proud of myself,” he added, to no doubt leave his former coaches at Norrie’s Texas Christian University gnashing their teeth.
Likewise, the idea of the famously focused Murray ever “enjoying every moment” of a such a demolition job seems laughable.
Norrie is no joke player, however. He was the top-ranked performer on the United States college circuit and took his Wimbledon wildcard on the back of his first tour-level victory at Eastbourne last month.
But the step up on Monday was far too steep for a player appearing in his first grand slam match against a man in his 150th and twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist.
”I think I just lost a little bit of focus,“ he said. ”I missed a few easy volleys in the first set, got broken. I played one loose service game in each set and it cost me. I‘m not used to playing guys at this level.
“I think I matched him pretty well. The whole match was just his serve, and he stayed focused and on it the whole match. He didn’t give me anything. But it’s a good learning experience.”
Editing by Ed Osmond