Wimbledon spectators have said they are curious to know more about “mysterious” Cameron Norrie after he became the only British singles player to make it through to the fifth round.
The 26-year-old home favourite is emerging from relative obscurity as team GB’s best hope for the championships after defeating America’s Tommy Paul.
Courtside spectators said they were keen to see more of the South African-born player who has, since the age of 16, lived much of his life in the UK, and has a Welsh mother and Scottish father.
Speaking after her defeat on Sunday, fellow British star, Heather Watson, said Norrie is “under the radar” and “deserves more attention”.
Fans who supported Norrie on Court One described him as “humble” in his victory and many are keen to see him in week two of the tournament, which could boost ticket sales after attendance this year has been lower than expected.
Ritesh Patel, 47, watched the game with his partner Saira Burwood, 45, after travelling from their home in Balham, south London.
Mr Patel, who works in management, told the PA news agency: “We’re pleased we got to see Norrie play, particularly because he’s the last Brit standing.
“I loved his drop shots – I don’t think he missed a single one – so I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.
“We didn’t know too much about him until this week – I’m really impressed.”
Ms Burwood, a project consultant, added: “There were some really exciting rallies.
“It (the stadium) got fuller as people were seeing his score, and the noise built, everyone was getting behind him.
“He came across really well in his interview at the end – he thanked the crowd, and I think he’s got a lot of support now.
“He seems like he’s got a really good personality as well – some other players come across a little bit dry.
“He was enthusiastic, he seemed really personable and friendly and was really humble as well.”
Recreational tennis player Kerry Daza-Estrella, 22, was cheering Norrie on with her friends Lucy Theron, 24, and Savva Drobot, 23.
Ms Daza-Estrella, from Wandsworth in south London, told PA: “This match was incredible, some of those shots were insane, and just the vibe from the crowd as well was really nice.
“I’m so happy that he’s gone through to the next round.
“I’d like to see if someone new could win Wimbledon, because obviously we have Nadal and Djokovic already.”
Ms Theron, a quantity surveyor whose Wimbledon-based family is hosting Mr Drobot via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, said: “I had never heard of him – what’s he called, Cameron Norrie?
“But this match really built momentum, I thought it was super interesting.
“He’s a bit mysterious, maybe he’s keeping his cards close to his chest.”
Mr Drobot, who had worked as an entrepreneur in Ukraine, said watching Norrie during his first Wimbledon experience on a free ticket given as a welcome gesture for refugees was “amazing”.
He added: “He has made me want to try to play tennis later.”
Garry Dods, 51, who lives in Southfields, south-west London, said Norrie was “battling for the Brits”.
Mr Dods, the chief executive of a sport marketing company, told PA: “He’s emerging.
“I think it’s good for British tennis to have role models and people who are quite high-profile, so I think it would be good for him to grow and people to follow him.”
Italian Marco Lo Giudice, 48, who lives in Wimbledon with his partner, Olive Hung, 53, a tour industry worker originally from Taiwan, said they “really enjoyed” his game and wanted to see Norrie play again.
Ms Hung added: “We’re looking forward to the next player representing England.
“He’s quite humble, because he said that in 2017 he didn’t do as well and this year he tried to calm himself down, so hopefully with him getting more mature he’ll do even better.”