Cameron Norrie has been making the most of the perks of Wimbledon membership as he prepares to lead British hopes again.
The 12th seed is the highest-ranked home player and represents the best chance of a deep run, particularly given his breakthrough success in reaching the semi-finals 12 months ago.
That earned Norrie membership of one of Britain’s most exclusive sporting clubs, which he has been fully embracing.
“At the end of last year, I had a bit of time off,” he said. “I was coming to the club and did some gym work here. Had dinner here one night. Before Queen’s I was coming here using the gym. Last week coming here and using the club a lot.
“The food is so good here, even outside of the tournament. Me and my fitness trainer really like the gym. Obviously to practise here one day was great, too.
“I just got my membership, so it was cool to use that. It’s such a nice club. It’s almost worth coming here just to have a shower and just to enjoy, the showers they have are so good.
“It feels so special. I think even more so when the tournament is not even on. Not many people are around. The facilities are obviously so good. You get treated like someone really special.”
Norrie has spent close to two years in the world’s top 20 despite not earning any ranking points for his achievements here last year.
This season he won his fifth ATP Tour title, beating Carlos Alcaraz in Rio in February, and, despite more shaky form recently, he is happy to carry the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
He said: “There’s more questions like that being asked. But I’d rather have that than the opposite to that and (people) be like, ‘You’re going to bomb out first round again here’.
“I think you have to embrace it, you have to enjoy that. Last year I did a really good job of that, enjoying the matches, enjoying the media. I was loving every moment of it. I had all my friends and family watching.
“I’m excited, especially after last year. Practice has been going really well. I’m hitting the ball as well as I can. I think all the preparation has been there. It’s always good feelings, good sensations before Wimbledon. My favourite tournament, so I can’t wait.”
Last year the draw opened up for Norrie but he appears to have his work cut out if he is to make the latter stages again, with American Sebastian Korda, who he lost to at Queen’s Club, potentially lurking in the third round, while Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are in his quarter.
First up on Tuesday, Norrie will face Czech qualifier Tomas Machac, a 22-year-old ranked 107.
“He’s really a talented guy, Tomas,” said Norrie, who lost to Machac’s Davis Cup team-mate Jiri Lehecka at the Australian Open.
“I’m watching some of his matches in the qualies. I think he’s a typical Czech player, really good backhand. I think he’ll see it as a really good opportunity, playing a top player.
“I know I’m going to get a lot of rhythm. I think it’s a good one for me. I’m looking forward to a good challenge. Just going to be a tough one and I have to play great.”