Wimbledon 2022: Try to keep up with Cameron Norrie and you’d most likely die

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s witnessed Cameron Norrie’s laconic, laidback demeanour that the man relaxes between matches by playing Ludo and backgammon.

Sedate board games seem perfect for the great British hope in whites who’s Cam by name and calm by nature - even if he revealed his emotions after the epic five-set victory which sets him up for tomorrow’s semi-final against Novak Djokovic.

But try and keep up with him at training and you’d most likely die.

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The revelation comes from his Argentinian coach, Facundo Lugones, who reckons no one can touch his man for the intensity and frequency of the routines.

Cameron Norrie has impressed his coach with how he's coped with the pressure of being the last Brit standingCameron Norrie has impressed his coach with how he's coped with the pressure of being the last Brit standing
Cameron Norrie has impressed his coach with how he's coped with the pressure of being the last Brit standing

“He does a lot of fitness, probably more than anyone,” Lugones explained. “It would be hard to beat how many hours Cam does. The conditioning sessions on the court where he stays in the red zone - the heartbeat is just insane. He stays in that area for a long period and he’s still able to play tennis at a decent level when he’s in that state.”

The work paid off in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Belgium’s David Goffin when, according to Lugones, he “actually looked more comfortable” than at the beginning.

“He gets his heart rate really, really high in those sessions and can keep it at that level for six, seven minutes, no problem. I think a normal person couldn’t even do a minute and a half and [if they attempted to match Norrie] would probably, I don’t know, die.”

A chat with Lugones put some flesh on the bones of the Norrie profile, something to which the man himself, self-effacing fellow that he is, has only offered little titbits as he’s progressed through the tournament.

Such as: he’s chicken. Nothing to do with being a coward, this is Lugones’ term of endearment for him. “It’s from a long time ago. In Argentina when you’re taking care of someone you call them your chicken. When I started travelling with him my friends would always ask me: ‘How is your chicken doing?’”

He’s doing fine, according to one who’s not just observed his development from uni days but helped manage it. “Before he was just a kid but now he’s a man. His maturity, the way he goes about his business, it’s still improving every day. His tennis now is priority number one, where before he had lots of different things going on. Maybe tennis was important, but it was not the only thing. Now it is.”

And Lugones has been especially impressed with how Norrie has coped with the pressure of the expectancy surrounding the Goffin clash and having to shoulder British hopes at Wimbledon. “That for me has been the biggest thing. The last few days, how composed he’s been, how he was able to stay patient and deal with everything like it was just another match. I think that’s why he’s in the semis.”

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He’s the British No1 but is he still to some degree underrated? “Cam doesn't get the hype that other players do for similar results but I don't think he cares.” Between matches, rather than read his reviews, he and his fitness coach will get out the board games. To play for money? “No, coffees.” He’s Cameron Norrie, after all.



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