British number one Cameron Norrie happy to avoid rain delays this year

British number one Cameron Norrie happy to avoid rain delays this year

Cameron Norrie reaped the benefits of not being Wimbledon’s rain man as he got his campaign up and running with a four-set victory over Tomas Machac.

The 27-year-old dropped the second set but went on to record a 6-3 4-6 6-1 6-4 win over the tricky Czech youngster under the roof on Court One.

While play on the outside courts was virtually wiped out due to persistent rain, Norrie is safely into round two – unlike the vast majority of his rivals.

Last year Norrie had to deal with two rain delays as he eventually beat first-round opponent Pablo Andujar, but as the 12th seed and British number one – and a semi-finalist last year – he has earned the right to play on the show courts and stay in the dry.

“Yeah that’s, for me, such a big advantage – to win, first of all, and to finish my match and know that I’m going to play,” he said.

“I looked at the weather this morning and I knew it was raining. (But) I knew I could plan as per usual to play.

“Yeah, it’s difficult. There are some guys still in the first round, and I was obviously fortunate enough to play, which is a big thanks to the club.

Wimbledon 2023 – Day Two – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Play was washed out on the outside courts (John Walton/PA)

“I felt that I earned the right to play on that court, and I was able to hit on that court before I played, so I think that was a good advantage as well.

“So, yeah, it was nice to be through in four tough sets. He made it really tricky for me. He played great, I thought.”

Machac, ranked 108 in the world, was making his Wimbledon debut and playing the first Tour level match on grass of his career.

But nevertheless the 22-year-old was a dangerous first-round opponent who beat Norrie’s compatriot Dan Evans in the Davis Cup and took Novak Djokovic to a deciding-set tie-break earlier this year.

There was no drama for Norrie in the opening set, though, as he secured a break for 3-2 and another to wrap it up.

Wimbledon 2023 – Day Two – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Cameron Norrie (right) and Tomas Machac shake hands at the net (Victoria Jones/PA)

The 12th seed is still sporting the tape on his knee that he wore throughout Queen’s, but whatever the issue is it was not bothering him unduly.

However, things unravelled in the second with Norrie twice pointing an accusatory finger at the grass after misreading the bounce of the ball and dumping forehands into the net before Machac levelled the match.

But Norrie got back on track in the third, securing a double break to take the set in just 24 minutes.

He retrieved an early break in the fourth with a forehand which left a flagging Machac in a heap on the baseline.

Further break points went back and forth but it was Norrie who made one stick to complete an encouraging victory in two hours and 32 minutes.