Andy Murray admits Cameron Norrie surprise after Brit’s Indian Wells triumph

Andy Murray admitted he was surprised by the improvement of Cameron Norrie amid his compatriot's impressive season.

Norrie became the first Brit to ever win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells as he came from behind to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6 6-4 6-1 in an hour and 49 minutes.

Norrie, who was down 3-1 in the second set before storming back, had become the first British player to reach the final of one of the ATP’s nine elite Masters 1000 events since Andy Murray won in Paris back in 2016.

After securing the win, Norrie became the fourth player ranked outside the top 25 to win the BNP Paribas Open since it moved to Indian Wells in 1987, following Jim Courier (1991), Alex Corretja (2000), and Ivan Ljubicic (2010).

All four players were ranked at number 26 when they claimed their respective triumphs and Norrie flew up to a career-high ranking of world number 15 after defeating Basilashvili.

Norrie is now the men’s British number one – and Murray heaped praise on his breakout year.

“I’d be lying if I said that I called that to be honest,” Murray said. “However, I have spent a decent amount of time around him and practiced with him quite a lot and he works extremely hard.

“I think he's a great example for not just British players but all tennis players to look at and go, if you put the effort in day in, day out and properly dedicate yourself to the sport, have an attitude like he does, it can take you a long, long way.

“It was obviously a phenomenal achievement last night, but I think maybe the season that he's having is more impressive than that one week.

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“Every week he's winning matches, he's played six finals, and this year he's looking like he's going to win more matches on the tour than he had in every season that he'd had beforehand combined.

“So that shows you how much of an improvement he's made. I knew he was good, but to be top 20 in the world and pushing for a spot in the tour finals is an incredible effort.”

The Indian Wells win was the second tournament win of Norrie’s career, and it is an excellent end to the 26-year-old’s tremendous breakout season in which he won his first title at Los Cabos, Mexico in July.

The Brit qualified for an impressive six finals this season, matched only by world number one Novak Djokovic, and he reached finals across three different surfaces on the hardcourt of San Diego, clay in Lyon and Estoril and the grass of Queen’s.

Murray was speaking at a press conference ahead of the European Open in Antwerp, the site of his last singles title in 2019.

His emotional win over Stan Wawrinka came less than a year after his hip surgery and seemed to indicate Murray's return to form – but nagging physical complications have limited the Scot.

“It was obviously a bit unexpected at the time,” admitted Murray. “I know I'd won what would be considered to be bigger tournaments but this was one of the hardest that I had to win in terms of everything I went through and had put my body through to get to that point.

“It was tough. Obviously winning Wimbledon, the pressure and everything was unbelievably difficult, but to win a tournament at this level with a metal hip and everything that had gone into that in the previous years, it was a long road, so I have good memories from here.”

Murray's ranking has dropped to 172 as a result of the points from his 2019 triumph finally no longer counting, but he has had several encouraging displays recently in losses to Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

Murray will play American Frances Tiafoe in his first-round match on Tuesday.

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