Cameron Norrie has been urged to “forget his ranking” by Eurosport expert Mats Wilander after the 12th seed exited the Australian Open in the first round.
The Briton rose up the rankings thanks to an incredible 2021 season, where he won the Los Cabos Open in July before winning his first Masters 1000 event three months later at Indian Wells.
Results catapulted the 26-year-old to world No. 12, having started 2021 at No. 71, but he was no match for Sebastian Korda on Monday, losing 6-3 6-0 6-4 to the 21-year-old American Next Gen star.
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“You have to be surprised when a player as good as Norrie loses in straight sets to anyone,” Wilander said.
“Obviously there is a bit of pressure on Norrie, he’s one of the best players in the world, and he was up against Korda, who is maybe the young superstar coming through from America.
“It was an incredibly tough draw, and more than it’s disappointing for Norrie, this is a situation where we have to start thinking Korda is a world beater, and he can really go all the way soon in Grand Slams.
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“The pressure you feel when you are a target because of your ranking, because of your results, that’s the feeling the greatest players in the world deal with.
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“They know that is the way but they are so good at looking their opponent in the eye and it’s still just a tennis match, it’s a fight, it’s you and I.
“That’s why Norrie got to where he is now. It’s really important that part of his attitude does not change, that he does not even talk about feeling like he’s the hunted now.”
Norrie had lost all of his three ATP Cup rubbers heading into the Australian Open, albeit to tricky opponents in Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Taylor Fritz.
Wilander, a three-time Australian Open champion, believes Norrie must revert to the approach that helped him become a seeded player in order to get back to winning ways.
“When you play tennis the way Norrie does, when he’s fighting for every single point, if you start to look at your ranking and look ahead, suddenly you’re not looking at your opponent,” Wilander added.
“His strength, is that he’s like a bulldog, on top of you and fighting you. He needs to get back to that – forget about the ranking.”
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