Cameron Norrie: the unassuming new star of British tennis

Indian Wells victory confirms Norrie as one of the most improved players of the season

Cameron Norrie’s biggest win came at the ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells in 2021
Cameron Norrie: ‘dogged determination’ at Indian Wells
(Image credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

What a year this is proving for British tennis, said Mike Dickson in the Daily Mail. Five weeks after Emma Raducanu’s triumph in New York, Cameron Norrie produced “another glorious tale of the unexpected” to become the first British winner of the tournament widely regarded as tennis’s “fifth Grand Slam”.

In the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the 26-year-old left-hander prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 against the world No. 36 Nikoloz Basilashvili. The slow conditions in the Californian desert produced an intriguing match of “contrasting styles”, said Tumaini Carayol in The Guardian. Whereas Norrie thrives in attritional rallies, the Georgian is one of the game’s “most destructive shotmakers” – the only player on tour who averages over 80mph off both wings. And for the first half of the match, his “considerable weapons” threatened to be decisive, as he reeled off five straight games to take the first set before breaking early in the second.

Yet the hallmarks of Norrie’s game this season – which has seen his ranking climb from 71 to its current position of 16 – have been his “dogged determination and relentless athleticism”, said Stuart Fraser in The Times. With his grip on the title faltering, both these qualities came to the fore: always seeking to lengthen the rallies, and scampering tirelessly all over the court, he began drawing errors from the Basilashvili racket. After breaking back, and with the Georgian serving at 4-5, he then produced two points of stunning brilliance – one a “lob and drop volley combination”, the other a spectacular running backhand pass – to “steal the set”. And in the decider Norrie was rarely troubled by his visibly tiring opponent.

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Norrie’s composure in this match was all the more impressive given the footwear-related crisis he suffered in its build-up, said Simon Briggs in The Daily Telegraph. In an “unexpected echo” of the story ten days ago about Andy Murray losing his tennis shoes – to which the former British No. 1 had attached his wedding ring – it emerged that all three pairs of Norrie’s shoes had mysteriously vanished from the locker room, forcing him to find a last-minute replacement. “I don’t know what the people have against the Brits with stealing shoes,” he joked afterwards.

Norrie’s victory, for which he earned £880,000, confirms him as one of the most improved players of the season, said Mike Dickson. With his ranking climbing precipitously, he is very much in contention to be one of the eight players to feature at next month’s year-end ATP Finals in Turin. Nobody familiar with this somewhat below-the-radar figure, who approaches everything with the same attitude of “cheerful resilience”, can be “anything other than delighted” by his success.

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