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Cameron Norrie heads into Wimbledon as Britain’s highest-ranked player


Cameron Norrie there were two mystical moments at Wimbledon. Both took place on Center Court the most revered place in sports.

The first came in 2021, when Norrie faced Roger Federer in the eight-time champion’s final Wimbledon and the final singles tournament of his career.

“Playing Roger on Center Court at Wimbledon with my home fans was surreal,” said Britain’s Norrie, who had a chance to break serve and take the match into a fifth set before losing 6-4, 6-4, 5- 7. 6-4. “Obviously, he’s loved there too. I think they supported him more than me that day.”

The second moment came last year when Norrie reached his first major semi-final at Wimbledon. He became only the fourth Briton in the open era – after Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and the two-time champion Andy Murray — to reach the semi-finals there.

Murray won in 2016 when he was ranked No. 2 in the world; he is the last Briton to have won the tournament. Nori will play at Wimbledon this year as his country’s top-ranked singles player.

“There was already an expectation that I would be successful because I’m the British No. 1,” said the 27-year-old Norry, who won the first set against Novak Djokovic before losing in four sets last year. “Obviously you feel a lot of pressure. But the only way in is to accept it all. If you just run and hide from it, you will be eaten alive on the site.’

Nori, who was ranked 8th in his career last year and is now 13th, has already beaten Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz this year, whom he upset to win the clay court title in Rio de Janeiro in February. He also won two PTA tournaments last year.

As a junior, Nori was ranked 10th in the world. But instead of turning pro, he decided to go to college Texas Christian University. He met there Facunda Lugones, who was a senior when Nori was a freshman. Both would often dash to the side as they destroyed their opponents. They became close friends. Lugones is now Nora’s trainer.

“College has been so valuable and so much fun for me,” Norrie said. “As a tennis player, you have to sacrifice a lot and it’s not a normal life. I was not ready for this lifestyle when I was 18 years old. I made a lot of mistakes in college that didn’t really cost that much. I had more fun than I should have. If I did that while on tour, I wouldn’t get hired.”

Nori admits to being undisciplined in sports during his first year in college. He was late to practice, took off his team uniform and didn’t give it his best effort. A couple of indoor losses saw him drop from #1 to #3 in the lineup.

Lugones said the coaches gave Nora an ultimatum when he returned from his sophomore year. “You could tell he was a different player after that,” Lugones said.

Nora’s strength on the court is his ability to compete on any surface and fight to the end. He is left-handed, which helps him hit his favorite shot: a low, flat, short backhand from the right side of the court.

“He reminds me a little of the left version David Ferrer“, he said Jim Courierformer world no.1. “He’s very hard to beat, he doesn’t get tired and he doesn’t beat himself often.”

Nori caused anger Djokovic in Rome in May, aiming a powerful short forehand and hitting Djokovic in the leg when his back was turned. While Nori apologized, he has no regrets about the shot.

“I wanted to win,” said Nori, who lost the match in straight sets. “It was at the height of the moment for me to break down [serve], and I tried everything. I competed as much as I could.”

Lugones said Nora’s biggest strength is his mental game.

“His mental capacity is different from everyone else’s,” Lugones said. “He smells blood early, and then raises the level. You can’t teach this skill.”

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