Cameron Norrie bats back questions over succeeding Andy Murray and winning Wimbledon after reaching quarters
We desperately needed to hear the “Norrie, Norrie, Norrie” chant - if only to banish the memory of Sir Cliff Richard’s Wimbledon warbling.
SW19’s first-ever Sunday special was commemorated, if that’s the word, by the ageless cloud-chaser’s “Summer Holiday”. Cameron Norrie was hoping to put off the opportunity for vacation by continuing to have pressing tennis business - and now he’s the only Brit standing and looking forward to his first-ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
This was another highly impressive straight-sets victory for him, watched by his Glasgow-born father David and the rest of the family, and next up for Norrie today will be Belgium’s David Goffin.
“Norrie, Norrie, Norrie … Oi, oi, oi!” was trotted only sporadically. It’s been adapted from the “Oggie, Oggie, Oggie” call-and-response of Welsh rugby fans, which was shouted by Catherine Zeta Jones at the Baftas and also reworked as “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie … Out, out, out!” during dischuffment with Thatcher. Maybe there was an All England directive to keep things orderly out of respect for the Sabbath. In truth, although America’s Tommy Paul was a lively competitor, the British No1 didn’t really require the fillip.
“It was a huge match for me, pretty crazy but I enjoyed it,” Norrie said. But what about being the sole representative of the original 17 - will he enjoy that? “I’ll take it. At the beginning of the tournament I was asked about the pressure of being British No1. Unfortunately I’m the last one standing but I reckon that’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me.”
And can he be Andy Murray’s successor? Norrie batted that one right back, like it was a sitter on his forehand side. “Andy’s still playing, you know.”
Norrie doesn’t get too excited or ahead of himself, and when asked whether he can win Wimbledon his reply wasn’t one for screaming headlines. “I’m taking it one match at a time. It’s great to be through to the quarters but, no reason to be satisfied [with that].”
The match was a contrast in demeanour: the brisk, business-like Norrie against loose, laidback Paul, with the former achieving a break in the very first game. A cool customer, using his racket as a giant fidget-spinner, Paul threatened to level in the sixth but Norrie saved four break points. After that Norrie pretty much stayed in control of the first set, this normally emotionless character letting slip with a “‘Mon!” when he took it.
It was an energetic contest of pinpointed shots, both players required to hit numerous returns from well beyond the tramlines, and in the next set Norrie repeated the trick of an early break. As before, in the sixth game, Paul sniffed a comeback chance. Norrie won the best rally of the match and, nervelessly, held his serve. But then Paul broke him. That was his only moment, though, as he couldn’t follow up by holding serve. Norrie, playing the big points well, increased his lead.
Third set, same plotline, an early break for Norrie and the by-now traditional sixth-game question asked of him but at 30-all he got away with a drop shot. Finally, Norrie was asked by the most excitable journal present if he minded being given the nickname “Nozza”. He deadpanned: “I used to be called that, it’s cool.”
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