CAMERON NORRIE secured the biggest win of his career by defeating 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal 3-6 6-3 6-4 at the United Cup in Sydney.
Norrie had lost his four previous meetings and all ten sets against Nadal.
Cameron Norrie sealed a famous win over Rafael Nadal
Nadal was playing his first competitive match of the new season
But the world No14 produced some of his best tennis at a sold-out Ken Rosewall Arena to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead against Spain at the inaugural mixed international team tennis competition.
The 27-year-old said in his post-match interview: “It was pretty crazy.
“I was thinking I’d never won a set before (against Nadal) and I came out firstly wanting to do that.
“I had to stay super-patient. It was a super-physical match and I enjoyed it. It was huge to get through that one and finally beat him.
“He bet me easily the last few times, so it’s a great way to end the year for me. It was a crazy atmosphere, thank you guys. It was a crazy match.”
Norrie, who defeated Alex de Minaur in his opening match at the new event as Britain beat Australia 3-2, was no match for Nadal in the opening set.
The legendary Spaniard and new dad, making his first appearance since the Nitto ATP Finals in November, delivered a series of stunning passing shots, but was unable to maintain his level.
Wimbledon semi-finalist and 2021 Indian Wells winner Norrie broke the Spaniard in the sixth game of the second set.
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Nadal, 36, showed his class with a brilliant piece of sportsmanship early on in the third set.
At 2-2 30-30, a superb rally saw the reigning Australian Open champion produce volley after volley but conceded the point when he admitted the ball clipped his body on its way over the net.
Norrie broke and then saved two break points in the next game before holding his nerve to clinch the statement win.
His only previous win against a member of the Big Four came against Andy Murray in Cincinnati this year but he had always lost against Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Nadal – with the Spaniard winning in Melbourne, Barcelona, Roland Garros and Acapulco.
And the victory will come as a major boost for South Africa-born Norrie heading into the first major of the season, with the Australian Open kicking off in Melbourne on January 16.
Britain’s Katie Swan will bid to put Britain 2-0 up in their Group D tie when she faces Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the last match of the day.
Norrie is hoping to go deep at the Australian Open
Nadal had won their previous four meetings