Cameron Norrie is flying this season. Now into his first ATP 1000 Masters quarter-final, in which he will take on Diego Schwartzman on Thursday night, he has big ambitions to go even further. A win against the Argentine will take Norrie past Dan Evans into the British number one spot, but he doesn’t want to stop there. The 26-year-old wants to conquer the entire world.
“The goal is to keep getting better and get towards world No 1,” he told the Tennis Channel.
“I have obviously got a long way to go but that’s the goal for me. It’s been a lot of fun this year and I am feeling good and ready to keep pushing for more. I just want to keep the momentum every week, keep enjoying my tennis, keep enjoying playing at this level. It’s nice to show this level at these events and the Slams.”
Although targeting the great Novak Djokovic may seem outlandish, it does show that the tall left-hander holds ambitions to make it to the very top. His 6-4 4-6 6-2 win over Tommy Paul was his 44th of the season, the same number as the Serbian has won this calendar year.
Norrie’s breakthrough year could not have come at a better time for British tennis. In 2021 he reached the third round at the French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open, which along with a steady accumulation of ranking points at ATP events, has seen him rise up to number 26 in the world.
At Indian Wells he has gone one step further and will now compete for a place in the final four but it has been the left-hander’s level of performance - along with that of fellow top 30 player Dan Evans - that has allowed Andy Murray to withdraw from the Davis Cup team. He felt his selection would be unfair given the quality of British players at the moment and despite his experience in the tournament, he is right.
Evans, who lost to Schwartzman at Indian Wells but made it to round four of the US Open in August, has also enjoyed a strong season that has seen him enter the autumn with a career-high ranking of 22nd. But the battle to be British number one has both men fighting it out in what has been a hugely successful year for British tennis, with Emma Raducanu winning the US Open.
Norrie won his very first ATP title this season in Los Cabos, while he reached finals in Lyon and at Queen’s. This will be his ninth quarter-final and this level of consistency currently places him in the top 15 in the ATP Race for Turin, with the top eight qualifying for the lucrative season-ending ATP Finals.
There was a worry that when Andy Murray could no longer compete at the top there would be a lull for British tennis. Instead what we have seen is a miracle from Raducanu, and a revival from Evans and Norrie, who are playing the best tennis of their careers.
Number one spot may be pushing it, but it seems tennis in this country is enjoying an Indian summer as Cameron Norrie continues to prove he is talented enough to take on the mantle from Murray.