October 18, 2021
Cameron Norrie overcame the odds to become prestigious champion at the event they call the “fifth slam.”
And the super Brit had to do it the hard way.
Not only was he forced to come from a set down. He also saw his three favourite pairs of tennis shoes go missing before the match.
Nothing could stop Norrie this time, though.
Despite losing several finals this year, he won the biggest tournament on the calendar outside the four Grand Slams.
‘I would have taken losing all those other finals to win this one,’ Norrie explained afterwards. ‘It’s incredible. Unbelievable.’
Norrie and Emma Raducanu have conquered America and look sure to shine at Wimbledon 2022.
This is dreamland for British tennis – and don’t forget Andy Murray is returning to his best as well.
Cam broke first against Nikoloz Basilashvili but then struggled to win another game in the first set.
He hit back with some amazing points to win the second.
A deft drop-shot, a delicate lob and a dream volley gave him momentum at 5-4. A stunning pass helped him level the match.
From there Norrie had all the momentum – and Basilashvili crumbled with a succession of unforced errors.
In the moment of victory Cam hardly seemed to know how to celebrate but the union flags were certainly waving at Indian Wells.
There will be even more excitement among British fans at Wimbledon 2022.
And there was a hidden drama behind Norrie’s 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
He revealed: ‘Every day I left my shoes on top of the locker. I think someone, maybe one of the cleaners or something last night, came through and they threw the three pairs of shoes that I had away.
‘I looked all day. I had everyone looking but I didn’t manage to get them back.’
Early in the match Norrie seemed to be struggling with his footwear and yelled at himself to ‘get moving!’
He explained: ‘You don’t want to be thinking about your shoes. At one point I said “alright, these are the shoe’s I’ve got, I’m just going to focus on what I can control right now.”
‘I wore them in a little bit, came good in the end.’
Now Norrie is 16th in the world and 10th in the race for Turin.
‘I’m going to take a sneaky peak at Turin now,’ he admitted as he starts to dream of a place in those top-eight ATP World Tour Finals.
That dream could yet turn into reality.
Cam is only 115 points behind ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz.
Rafael Nadal is not playing again this year so ninth would be enough.
The Brit will now feel super-motivated to play Vienna, Paris and Stockholm before the final placings are decided.
Norrie and Raducanu will then build towards Wimbledon 2022 after a sparkling autumn.
Indian Wells didn’t go Emma’s way after her month on the celebrity circuit but she will already be working hard behind the scenes for more glory.
And the women’s final turned out to be an absolute classic in the desert.
Paula Badosa finally outgunned Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) after three hours and four minutes of scintillating tennis.
In doing so, she became the first Spanish player to win Indian Wells – and fell to the floor in tears.
This thriller could have gone either way.
The legendary Azarenka was so much better in the second set and looked to have maintained momentum in the first couple of points of the decider.
But Badosa dug deep and found the winning touch.
She explained: ‘In the third set I think I played my best tennis. It was the only option if I wanted to win, so I’m really proud of it.’
Visitors to Wimbledon on the first Tuesday this year would have seen Badosa battling away in front of a handful of people on an outside court.
She will arrive at Wimbledon 2022 much better known after this triumph.
Will you be at Wimbledon 2022 as well?
Who would want to miss the greatest tournament in the world?