British Number One Cameron Norrie Must Now Deal With Rising Wimbledon Expectations

Norrie is one of the Brits that is flourishing at Wimbledon and moves into round four
21:30, 01 Jul 2022

Cameron Norrie has managed to stay largely under the radar in the first week of Wimbledon – but after reaching the fourth round and second week of a grand slam for the first time in his career, the stakes and spotlight are rising fast for the British No1. 

The 26-year-old enjoyed an early-evening stroll as he completed a 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 victory over American Steve Johnson, who had earlier put out another Brit in Ryan Peniston. But this encounter was a rather different proposition for Johnson, who didn’t get a look-in. It started badly, and just got worse – and there cannot have many more one-sided matches on the hallowed Centre Court turf. 

It could not have been a more different experience for world No12 and ninth-seeded Norrie from the five-set battle to shake off Spain’s Jaume Munar in the previous round. And with another American in 30th seed Tommy Paul next, and the other match in the quarter bringing together David Goffin and Frances Tiafoe, there is no doubt a real opportunity has opened up for Norrie to make the semi-finals or even better. 

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Norrie’s game may not always be spectacular – but he does any number of things incredibly well, imparting a lot of looping spin on his forehand with a faster and flatter backhand stroke. And the lefty serve has improved considerably in recent years, regularly opening up the court for one-two punches. 

Norrie’s background and life really could not be more cosmopolitan and eclectic. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, part-educated at university in Texas as the son of a Scottish father and Welsh mother. But having trained for many years in Roehampton and now living in south-west London, it is a stepping stone from the place he now calls home that the biggest chance yet beckons. 

Norrie was being saluted by the crowd with a bespoke chant of ‘Cameron Norrie…oi, oi, oi’, and he said: “Honestly, it was pretty funny. I don't know why I was thinking, every time they said it, I broke serve. It's a good sign, a little bit superstitious. Pretty funny and a good atmosphere. I really enjoyed the match thoroughly. And the chants definitely added to the noise of the match and atmosphere out there on Centre Court. 

“It is such a special court. As you walk down the clubhouse, you see all the history and everything. I think luckily I played on it a couple times, played Roger there last year and then Nishikori a couple years ago. I think that helped, I was more relaxed and it wasn't really too intimidating. 

“My parents are over [from New Zealand]. Their first one was in Rome, so they've been over for a while and have done a decent trip over. This is their last tournament, so I'm prolonging their trip longer and longer. It's been good. Also my sister moved over to London earlier this year. She's living and working here. It's great to have everyone here watching, supporting. 

“It is the first time that I have got to the fourth round and second week of any grand slam and to do it here at Wimbledon is very special, even more with all my family and friends here watching me. That’s good timing that they are here, and I couldn’t be happier. 

“The match was a little bit less stressful for my squad today than the other day. I am enjoying playing at this level, the process of it all and enjoying improving. With all my team, we have the same goals but we want to keep going and ticking more boxes. 

“I am as ready as I can be to be a Brit int o the fourth round here. I am training as hard as I could be. It was a tricky grass season but I have peaked at the right time. I am definitely moving better and feeling better on the court. I’ll take that, and I am as ready as can be. 

“The draw still has good players in it. I was a little bit more fortunate, obviously playing well, and the ATP is getting my ranking up, getting better seedings, therefore, getting a better draw. Being able to dictate my schedule has been a lot easier rather than just being ranked 50 or 40, playing everything and hoping you're picking up points everywhere. 

“But for me, there are no easy guys out there. Tommy Paul won really comfortably. I think grass is probably his best surface maybe from recent form. It's going to be really tough regardless if the draw is open or not. Playing Tommy in the fourth round is going to be a battle, for sure. I always have a battle with him. I practice with him, he is a good friend of mine. We've actually practiced maybe two or three times already here at Wimbledon, and we know each other's game very well.” 

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