Cameron Norrie has gained “a lot of confidence” from his epic, ground-breaking run to the Wimbledon semi-finals – and aims to go at least one better.
There’s a lot of stuff to be proud of. A lot of firsts. Coming in here pretty highly seeded. Lots of expectations from everyone in the country. And from myself especially. Cameron Norrie
The British No.1’s odyssey – travelling into the second week of a major for the first time – came to an end in four sets against Novak Djokovic, the reigning champion aiming for a seventh title to level with Pete Sampras against Nick Kyrgios on Sunday.
But ninth seed Norrie has boosted his belief that he can establish himself at the highest level of the game after taking the opening set off the Serb before a misplaced approach shot and fall saw Djokovic take a hold under the blazing sun on Centre Court.
The 26-year-old left-hander said: “Yeh. It was a good experience. Obviously, to play Novak, especially the level he brings here at Wimbledon. Playing a six out of ten winning set. And reaching the semis, the Friday of the second week, is pretty sick. It gives me a lot of confidence.
“But I want to go more. Do more of that and go one further and try and win a Slam.”
The world No.12, who has had a rapid rise over the ranking this past year, has taken the positive of his experience in London SW19 this season.
He said: “There’s a lot of stuff to be proud of. A lot of firsts. Coming in here pretty highly seeded. Lots of expectations from everyone in the country. And from myself especially. So getting through the draw in the fashion that I did. Handling the occasions. Of playing Centre Court, No.1. Playing guys I’m actually favourite to beat.
“Being in situations I haven’t experienced is not easy. Lot of pressure on me to win. So for me to have the nerve and focus to serve out sets, matches was a lot of fun. Everyone got behind me. The atmosphere was incredible, especially serving out against David Goffin to make my first Slam semi-final was pretty crazy.”
Norrie knows the hard yards are to come if he wants to be satisfied by becoming a major champion.
He said: “It (making the semis) doesn’t mean anything. Nice to do it and loved every moment but I need to keep working hard. Still got a lot of things I can improve on my game. I want to go more. Do more of that (make the semis) and go one further and try and win a Slam.”
Norrie is delighted to have “cheered” the nation.
He said: “I think it’s probably the first time in this country, here and around Wimbledon, that I think people have gotten to know me a little bit more and the way I play, the way I operate on the court. It’s given a lot of people something to cheer about. They love that. It’s been a pretty crazy fortnight for me. it’s been a lot of fun.”
Norrie is to play Atlanta in the run up to the US Open in the autumn, was unsure of his plans beyond that.
In the meantime, the New Zealand-raised Norrie plans to hang out with a Kiwi pal who flew out to see him play against Djokovic.
He said: “I think I’m going to have a couple days’ break and speak with my team and see. He flew for two days now. He got here today. I’m going to probably hang out with him for a couple days. Haven’t seen him in a couple years. Good effort from him. He stuck to his word, so. Catch up with him and then see with my team where I’ll play next.”
Djokovic, 35, praised Norrie.
The Serbian said: “He’s an all-around player and a very professional guy. I see the things that he’s doing off the court. With this kind of approach, I feel like you’re always going to get chances.”
* Mike Donovan has written the book The Jimmy Greaves We Knew: The Authorised Celebration of a National Treasure which is out on Pitch Publishing on 19 September, 2022, the first anniversary of Greaves’ passing. Donovan has also written a Tennis Threads special edition on Andy Murray called Murray: Magnificent, Momentous and Memorable Achievements.