British tennis player Cameron Norrie said he has “hard times” preparing for on-court matches because of a troublesome right shoulder.
Norrie, 19, who competes in the men’s main draw of the US Open, made the announcement Monday on Twitter.
“There are pretty much two things that keep me busy. Usually it’s just trying to get my shoulder to feel right but I really hate changing my gear, which takes a while,” Norrie told Fairfax Media.
“I have had two shoulder surgeries, which is strange, as I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve always enjoyed my tennis but the result isn’t there for me at the moment. I can just sort of see it and walk on the court and I’ve always done well on hard courts.”
Norrie, a U.S. Open junior champion, is ranked 71st in the world and has reached the last 16 at Wimbledon and the third round at the US Open.
Tennis is widely recognised as a boy’s game, with only 6 per cent of male players aged between 18 and 29 earning a world ranking.
Women’s tennis is more vibrant in Britain but even so it was by no means inevitable that Norrie would emerge as a top-10 player.
Lying outside the top 200 for much of last year, Norrie was restricted to Futures and Challenger level tournaments.
He was advised to make a move to America and began to take notice when he gained a match point on Martin Klizan’s serve at the Delray Beach Open in March.
That followed a breakthrough performance at Wimbledon at the end of 2016.
Norrie played some good tennis to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili, Mischa Zverev and Nicolas Mahut before losing in the third round to Tomas Berdych.
Within six months he had knocked American John Isner out of the Wimbledon first round and entered the top 100.
“I have two really good coaches with me and they try to get me out of my comfort zone, to make me change my training, get to see my technique differently,” Norrie said.
“Last year I was more of a doubles player so it was a bit harder to do that, with being seen by lots of coaches and tennis psychologists.
“But now I have a few more people advising me. Mentally and physically, I guess I’m probably in the best place I’ve ever been.”
Norrie may have a rough road ahead of him.
Players outside the top 100 have had a tough time to break into the top 100 of the ATP rankings in recent years.
It took five years for a player outside the top 100 to break through to the top 40 and seven to do so to the top 25.
Dan Evans, the British number one, is now playing well, however, and has been rewarded by a wild card to next month’s US Open, which Norrie hopes to follow suit.
If he did, it would be a dream come true for Norrie, who has had a devoted group of supporters ever since he grew up in south Wales.
His parents, Lee and Lucie, and his older brother Luke all play tennis and attended Wimbledon to watch him play during last year’s tournament.
“That’s definitely one of my proudest moments,” he said.