Rookie British tennis star Cameron Norrie astonished everybody with his Davis Cup heroics. Ralph Ellis believes it could be a significant breakthrough moment for the 22-year-old...
"I liked his reaction to his weekend heroics. “It has told me I can play at this level with these guys,” he said. “They’re great, but they’re nothing special.”
Wind the clock back to Wimbledon in 2001 and a young Swiss guy called Roger Federer, rated a huge talent but one that hadn't done too much to live up to the billing, faced Pete Sampras.
Only one winner in that one, we believed. The reigning champion, seven times a winner at SW19, a man who hadn't lost a singles match on Centre Court since five years earlier, the king of serve and volley.
And then Federer, still a fresh faced teenager with a pony tail, didn't just beat the king of Wimbledon but did it in five amazing sets winning 7-5 in the last.
A few weeks after Fed has walked off with his 20th Grand Slam title it's difficult to think that he was once a hopeful who was unsure whether he could live with the best. But that was the day that made him believe.
Every top player needs that sort of a breakthrough moment, and it would be a shame if we haven't just witnessed one for Cameron Norrie after his incredible Davis Cup adventure in Spain.
A guy who'd never played a professional match on clay came back from two sets and 3-1 down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, ranked 91 places above him. And then he stretched Albert Ramos-Vinolas through four gruelling sets and nearly four hours.
Less than a year after turning pro, 22-year-old Norrie has given us more hope that there might be another world class British player to come as Andy Murray inevitably succumbs to age and injuries. Somebody else, along with the rapidly improving Kyle Edmund, for the fans on the Hill to get behind.
Could he even be a long price bet for Wimbledon this summer? Last year as a wild card he got wiped away first round by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but he would be an interesting punt now to see if he's a contender come July.
I liked his reaction to his weekend heroics. "It has told me I can play at this level with these guys," he said. "They're great, but they're nothing special."
You could imagine Federer thinking the same thing after he'd discovered he could live with Sampras, and the improvement after a breakthrough moment like that can be rapid.
Norrie is already looking at scheduling some tournaments on clay and is [150.0] for the French Open. He'll certainly be a name to look out for in minor tournaments between now and the summer.
Ok, there's a doubt about exactly how British he is. Even his dad admitted last summer that he'd be backing the All Blacks rather than the Lions when it came to the rugby.
Born in Johannesburg, he was brought up from the age of three in New Zealand until at 15 he realised he couldn't go any further in the sport while living in Auckland. It was then he took advantage of a Scottish dad and Welsh mother to move to London and come under the LTA's auspices.
Even then after three disappointing years it took another switch to the American University sports system to bring out his talent, where he became the number one rated college player in the States.
I rather suspect the media will gloss over all of that, though, if he carries on performing as bravely as he's done this weekend. Like Federer in 2001, he knows now he belongs at the top and the signs are he has the talent to get there.