Tennis Prose



2021: The Rise Of Cameron Norrie

Looking back on it, 2021 was quite the year for Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie. The 26-year-old recorded his best-ever finish in three of tennis’ four major Grand Slams, won both his first ATP singles title, as well as a maiden Masters 1000 victory – and ended the year by making a first appearance in the ATP Finals, albeit losing in the round-robin stage.

After some solid performances at various events on the circuit throughout the season, he rose up the rankings. Norrie started the year ranked 74th by the ATP, before breaking into the top 40 for the first time in his career – in June. A steady incline saw Norrie then place in the top 30, after Wimbledon (in July), before reaching the top 20 – where he now ranks a career-high of 12th in the world rankings – all while becoming Britain’s number 1.

While Norrie was unable to retain his Indian Wells title earlier this month, with defeat in the quarterfinals to Spanish prodigy, Carlos Alcaraz, there’s no doubt that for the remainder of the season, the talented lefthander’s name will feature on the lists for those tennis betting online.

However, it was, in fact, in 2020 that Norrie produced his best performance in a Grand Slam tournament – reaching the third round of the US Open for the first time. After causing a first-round upset by beating the fifth seed – and former quarterfinalist – Diego Schwartzman in an epic five-set battle, he was later knocked out by Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

This level of form continued as the 2021 season rolled around, with the Australian Open, the first major on the circuit. He’d beaten compatriot and higher-ranked opponent Dan Evans in the opening round, and being drawn in a difficult section, found himself up against Rafael Nadal in round three. It was back-to-back exits at this stage of a Grand Slam with the 2009 winner triumphant in straight sets.

Reflecting on the defeat at Melbourne Park, Norrie had said at the time:

“I’ve got a lot of stuff that I want to tidy up in my game. I think I want more from myself. It was obviously tough to play him but it was a good experience.”

And it was the “King of Clay” that Norrie faced in round three at Roland-Garros. Very few beat the Spaniard on his favoured surface, and it proved to be another straight sets exit for the Brit, who then faced another of the sport’s ‘Big Three’ at Wimbledon. Roger Federer was his opponent in round three, and despite clawing the third set back, the Swiss Maestro was triumphant over the Brit.

As mentioned, Norrie landed his first ATP title – with victory in Mexico at Los Cabos. The number one seed beat three different American opponents in both sets, concluding with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Brandon Nakashima. He later became the first Briton to secure the Indian Wells Masters title, with victory over the heavy hitting Georgian, Nikoloz Basilashvili – during which, he had to come from behind to win over three sets. The win saw Norrie rise to 16th in the world rankings, and on court afterwards, his jubilation was apparent.

“I’m so happy, I can’t even describe it,” he said, before continuing:

“If you’d have told me I’d have won before the tournament started I wouldn’t have believed you, so it’s amazing,”

For so long, stars of the game, including Andy Murray, have bemoaned the lack of depth within the sport – with more investment at grassroots level required to help develop the stars of the future. However, 2021 proved to be a great year for both the men’s and women’s game in Britain, with Emma Raducanu’s rise – as she won her first major title at Flushing Meadows.

Perhaps British tennis has looked brighter than it has done in recent years – but of course, the biggest test will come in the circuit’s major tournaments. For now, Norrie remains 12th in the world, with the French Open looming…

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 1, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Norrie is maybe the biggest overachiever now in the ATP. Thought he would be another good NCAA player with only sporadic decent results like Brian Vahaly, Noar Rubin, Mike Torpegaard, Evan King. But he’s an elite ATP player now and the best could be yet to happen.



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