I'm Proud of My Battling Brit, Says Greg's Girl; CHEERING AT COURTSIDE, RUSEDSKI'S PERSONAL 'PSYCHOLOGIST'

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Byline: NICK HOPKINS

FISTS clenched she roared him on, sharing the agony of every missed shot and pleasure at a point won.

Courtside at the U.S. Open, the usually reserved girlfriend of Greg Rusedski found herself swept up in the emotion of the game. Yesterday Lucy Connor, 21, was back to her demure self but her pride in Rusedski - even in defeat was just as passionate.

'Even though he lost, I hope he has given people in England something to smile about over the last fortnight,' she said.

'Part of him wanted to win because of what happened to Diana. He thought it might help lift the mood of the nation. But the tragedy helped put things in perspective for him as well.

'Losing in the final isn't the end of the world. It was just another game and he has nothing to feel disappointed about.

Of course I was shouting him on because I wanted him to win, but it wasn't to be this time.

There is always another tournament tomorrow and I know the day will come when he will win a Grand Slam championship and I will be there at his side.'

Canadian-born Rusedski, 24, is fiercely patriotic about Britain, his adopted home.

After Sunday's final defeat in four sets against Australian Patrick Rafter, he said he intended to sign the book of condolence for Diana as soon as he arrived back in London.

Miss Connor, who is about to start her second year at the Mount View Theatre School in North London, met Rusedski six years ago. He was playing at a junior tennis tournament in Thames Ditton, Surrey, where she was a ball girl. …