Rafael Nadal fell victim on Saturday to match-tough Brit Cam Norrie, with the No. 14 saddling the Spaniard with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat in Sydney at the United Cup.
Norrie spent December banking it at exhibitions in Saudi, Dubai and Hong Kong while Nadal was training on his home island of Mallorca while nurturing his infant son.
The world No. 2 veteran who won two Grand Slam titles in 2022 despite a run of serious injury including a chronic foot concern and an abdominal muscle worry, will have to re-group as he prepares for the mid-month start of the Australian Open.
Nadal, who holds the leading total of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, will be defending his crown at Melbourne Park.
Norrie finally won a set against the Iberian powerhouse after losing his first 11 in the series dating to 2021.
“It was pretty crazy… I was thinking I’ve never won a set against him before and I wanted to come out and do that,” the winner said of his Sydney success.
“I had to stay super patient, it was a super physical match. It was huge to get through that one and finally beat him.”
Norrie’s chase for off-season paydays served him well on court as he put his well-polished game on show against a ring-rusty Nadal.
“I’ve had a really good off season, played a lot of matches and it’s been good for me,” the Brit said.
“I was finding really good depth in my shots and dictated the play.”
Main photo:- Cam Norrie celebrates win over Rafa Nadal – by ATPTour.com