WIMBLEDON – Cameron Norrie, the legend of the Djokovic anti-star attack

Cameron Norrie in the Wimbledon semifinals, one more sensation in this crazy tournament? In fact, no. The Briton, 12th in the world but driven by No. 9 seed by the absences we know (Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini), is no less in his place from the moment the two players better classified. that he appearing in his quarter-table, Casper Ruud (No. 3 seed) and Hubert Hurkacz (No. 7), fell quickly, the first in the 2nd round against Ugo Humbert and the second, more surprisingly, in the exit against him. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Cameron Norrie, has a specificity: if so far he has rarely gone to call the best, as his balance sheet has only four wins over the top 10 players and not one over the top 3, so far he had more. he always didn’t get to a second week of Grand Slam, he almost never experiences a great underperformance. It may be obvious, but it’s not so much: to beat him, you have to be stronger than him. And it becomes increasingly difficult to be like the progression of the now British linearity no.

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That may change someday and maybe even soon, but still, for now, it’s still a fact: Cameron Norrie, 26, isn’t a star. He is not the type to touch the headlines, he maintains a balanced temperament in all aspects, he is quite discreet by nature and his arrival among the best, as we have said, was done with off steps. Nothing to do, for example, with the thunderous rise last year of Emma Raducanu, who completely stole the show in Britain by monopolizing all media radars, very happy to find another bone to gnaw on when the idol local, Andy Murray, was starting to dive.

Why Norrie came out of nowhere

“While Norrie was by far the fittest British player at the start of this Wimbledon, it was no surprise to see Murray and Raducanu scheduled for the central court and not him. confirms our Eurosport UK teammate Dan Quarrel. Norrie has always had very little publicity in Britain until then. Still, this semifinal could change a lot of things. You can feel a lot of excitement from the crowd and he should receive great support against Djokovic as he was in the quarterfinals against Goffin, where his emotional post-match interview brought him even closer to the people. “

During this Homeric quarter-final victory over Goffin, which Norrie in fact attributed to public support, the feeling came mostly from the presence in the stands of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince Williams and his wife Kate. An honorable presence that is not negligible and even less fortuitous: it reveals the popular rise to power of a player already assured of marking the history of his country by becoming the fourth British Open era to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon final after Roger Taylor. , Tim Henman and Andy Murray. And that, after becoming the fourth British to reach the top 10 last April (after Henman, Murray and Greg Rusedski).

Something to finally do a little more “English” a young man with a very heterogeneous career: born in South Africa to a Scottish father and a Welsh mother, he grew up in New Zealand before taking his tennis lessons in the United States. Units. Christian University, which finished best player in the NCAA – the American college championship – in 2017. More Anglo-Saxon, it’s tricky. But until then it was also difficult for the English public to fully identify with a player who had become a subject of Their Majesties, mainly for economic reasons, when he could also have chosen another nationality.

Call him “chameleon” Norrie …

This multicultural and easy-to-follow path is reflected in its tennis, multidimensional and easy to define. After his first notorious feats in the Davis Cup in early 2018, when he went on to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets in Spain, it was first believed that Norrie was a landowner, mainly because he is trained by a Argentine. (Facundo Lugones). But it was very difficult for him to win his first titles, particularly the most prestigious ones, last year, during an Indian Wells Masters 1000, a little special, played in October.

He did well in 2022 winning at Delray Beach in February, on hard tracks, and then at Lyon on clay in May. But the lawn? Many believed (erroneously) that it was not his cup of tea. The player, on the other hand, thought the opposite: “It’s a surface that fits my game very well, because I’m left-handed and I hit the reverse very flat. he told Eurosport even before the tournament, despite an incoming defeat at Queen’s and quarterbacks at Eastbourne. Most of all, I really enjoy playing on the grass. Plus, Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. “ Obviously …

Serial No. 3 on the mat: Norrie knocked down by Dimitrov after a 2-hour fight

With his right hand wrapped up, almost at Christmas, and his very flat backhand, he limits the “subspin” to the manner of one of his “benchmark” players, Daniil Medvedev. “When I see that he has become the number 1 in the world with this style of play, I tell myself that there is no reason why he can’t do the same.” – Norrie is a somewhat hybrid and all-terrain player who puts his tactical intelligence at the service of this somewhat confusing style. He never sends two identical balls, he seems within reach of all styles but, with his regularity and a “je ne sais quoi”, he adapts to all situations. Call him Chameleon Norrie.

So obviously, against Novak Djokovic, it may not be the same lemonade. But Cameron Norrie obviously believes in it as hard as iron. Anyway, here it is now where I wanted to be. All the hopes of the Kingdom now rest on his shoulders, and no longer on those of Andy Murray, who is also one of his first supporters, and not yet on a young British generation that is beginning to point the end of his nose, like Jack Draper or Ryan Peniston, prominent during the turf season.

I managed my slow progress well and optimized my potential

Above all, whether you win or lose, we can count on Cameron Norrie to rely on this match to continue his progress. Because if today he has to pinch when he plays a Wimbledon semifinal against one of the greatest players in history, far from Cameron Norrie the desire to see him as a Holy Grail. “I’m sure that when I was at university, this type of goal would have seemed completely unreal.he said again at a press conference. At the time, my goal was just to get into the top 100. Then, when I got there, the first 50. Then the top 10. Finally, I managed my slow progress and optimizing my potential well. But I think there are still many areas where I can improve. And it’s exciting … “

The chameleon is an animal that likes to go slowly but surely. Who doesn’t look like much, but who has some amazing faculties, some of which you don’t necessarily suspect. Finally, Cameron, it’s a bit like that too.

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