CAMERON Norrie shared an emotional moment with his Glaswegian dad David, who was watching in the wee small hours back home in Auckland, after he won his first Wimbledon match. This adopted Brit – one part Scottish, one part Welsh, born in Johannesburg, raised in New Zealand and resident in London – has a complex national heritage but he was happy to call himself part of a tidal wave of British success in the opening stages of this year’s Championships which has had the historians reaching for the record books.

Even with Andy Murray reduced to doubles play this fortnight as he eases his way back up to full speed following January’s hip resurfacing operation, the seven-home based players from a total entry of 10 who have made it through to the second round here is the most since 2006. It was easier to count those who didn’t make it, young Katie Swan a straight sets loser to Germany’s Laura Siegemund, plucky debutant Paul Jubb going down in four sets to Joao Sousa, while James Ward almost joined them before being edged out 8-6 in the fifth by No 18 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Norrie spent more of his time growing up on the other side of the globe glued to the All Blacks’ exploits on the rugby field than getting up in the middle of the night to tune into Wimbledon but this likeable 23-year-old was still living his dreams yesterday. His 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win against Denis Istomin was a match-up which had been promised to the Glasgow crowd when Norrie made his turbulent home Davis Cup debut in September only for Uzbek to withdraw at the 11th hour, but the victory was none the sweeter for that.


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“My dad sent me a message saying: ‘Well done on your first win’,” said Norrie, named yesterday as the LTA’s male player of the year for a 12-month period which saw him break the world’s top 50 players for the first time. “I'll probably call him later. I think it was middle of the night in New Zealand, where he was. He was definitely happy for me.

“They were over for Queen’s and just got back now,” he added. “They went to Vienna, did a cycling trip. I think Wimbledon is a little bit too busy for them. They wanted to chill out a little bit, watch a little bit from home. I watched a lot of rugby growing up in New Zealand,” he said. “I didn't think I'd ever be winning matches at Wimbledon. So I'll definitely take that.”

It is asking a bit much to ask Norrie to step into Andy Murray’s shoes just yet but he said he was happy to follow in the former World No 1’s footsteps when it comes to inspiring the next generation of Scottish talent. The win came after the disappointment of a quickfire first round Roland Garros defeat to unheralded French qualifier Elliott Benchetrit, but hands him another shot at the limelight with a crack at No 8 seed Kei Nishikori in the next round.

“I don't actually know where I was when Andy won Wimbledon but it was definitely huge for British tennis,” this former top-ranked college player said. “It was huge for Scottish tennis, too. Hopefully he can influence the younger generation and hopefully I can as well.

“I'm just going to go out there against Nishikori and make it as physical as I can,” he added. “I’ve nothing to lose really. I just want to go into it with the underdog mentality. I know I'm good enough to beat him. If I put my best level out there, I'm going to be trouble for anyone.”

While Norrie was here last year, Dan Evans was three miles away at Roehampton, still serving his penance after a ban for taking cocaine. Prevented from taking a day off by the inspirational words of Tim Henman’s former coach David Felgate, all the 29-year-old Brummie’s hard work continued to pay off with a fine straight sets win against a dangerous opponent in Federico Delbonis.


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“Anyone who's played Wimbledon and is not involved, or when a Grand Slam is on, it's a difficult week to practice,” said Evans, who now faces Ward’s nemesis Basilashvili. “Your head's not there. You want to be at the tournament. Especially, I know it sounds stupid, if you are where the tournament is, like in London. But he assured me that that week was important, to keep going. He said I'd be back there. I have to give him credit for quite a lot of the last year.”

With Jo Konta, the 2017 semi-finalist at this venue who also reached the last four at Roland Garros recently, kicking off her campaign with a straight sets win against Ana Bogdan, Harriet Dart was doing her best to ignore all the commotion caused by the Duchess of Cambridge cramming into the tight confines of Court No 14 to watch her overcome lucky loser Christina McHale of the USA.

“Obviously, I was just aware she was there at the start, as the chair umpire informed me,” said Dart, who now faces Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, who shocked former champion Garbine Muguruza. “I don't even know at which point she left. Hopefully because I'm British, hopefully she'll come to many more of my matches.

It wasn’t to be for debutant Paul Jubb, who at least warmed to the task enough to make his Portuguese opponent work for his 6-0, 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-1 win, but another Brit who marched on last night was Jay Clarke, a 20-year-old from Derby who took care of US qualifier Noah Rubin. Who does he face in the next round? A certain Roger Federer.