Cameron Norrie had hoped to deliver a ‘home’ victory by winning the ASB Classic in Auckland, the city where he grew up before his family moved to Britain and he became the British No.1 player.
The man who upset his plan was the veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet who inflicted an emotional and tough defeat on the Brit to grab his 16th title 4-6 6-4 6-4.
hat one hurts. I wanted that one really bad Cameron Norrie
Norrie had looked like he was on the verge of victory against the experienced Frenchman when he led 4-1 in the decider only for the 36-year-old Gasquet to lift his game in a final assault which resulted in him reeling off five consecutive games to clinch victory after 2-hours and 27-minutes.
The loss, after being just two games away from victory, was certainly a blow for Norrie who looked to be in tears during the post-match interview.
“That one hurts. I wanted that one really bad,” he admitted having now failed on two occasions to win an Auckland final.
“But all credit to Richard, you hung in there and played better than me. Definitely deserved it today. Well done.
“I have had an amazing week, coming to Auckland, the tournament where I grew up. I have a lot of friends and family here, everyone supporting me, which has been great.
“I really wanted to win the title. This changes nothing, it makes me more hungry and hopefully I can be back and get the title next year.”
Norrie is due play his first round match at the Australian Open on Monday where he will face another Frenchman, wildcard Luca van Assche.
While his performance in Auckland is an example of his recent good form – it was his first loss in seven matches this season – he has suffered four first-round losses in the last five years at the Open, but last year he did well at major events, reaching the Wimbledon semis and the fourth round in New York.
Norrie has been the top-ranked British player in men’s singles since October 2021 and has five titles to his name including the Indian Wells Masters.