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By Oli Dickson Jefford
Cameron Norrie has well and truly made his mark at Wimbledon this year.
The 26-year-old may not have been a household name a fortnight ago but no matter what happens in today’s semi-final against Novak Djokovic, he’s won countless fans across the country.
Norrie has been consistently ranked inside the top 100 since 2018 but it has only been over the past two seasons that he has emerged as a force on the ATP Tour.
The story Norrie working his way through the junior ranks while he stayed and trained at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre and becoming the first player to graduate from the LTA’s Pro-Scholarship Programme has been told time and again in recent days.
The Brit ended 2020 ranked 71st in the rankings but a year later he was ranked 12th and has since gone on to reach the top ten.
In the past season and a half, he has won four ATP titles and reached a further five finals, most notably winning the prestigious Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells last Autumn.
Now, having never made the second week of a Grand Slam final before, he is in his first Major semi-final having battled past David Goffin in Tuesday’s quarter-final.
Many have always believed in his potential, but it was a transformation during lockdown that has helped turn him to one of the most dangerous players on tour.
“I know during that period he and his coach Facu [Lugones] decided that he had to be a bit more aggressive, a bit more proactive with his tennis and that’s certainly on show now,” said James Trotman, who also works with the British No.1.
“Physically he’s a beast. He’s one of the fittest guys on tour and his movement’s incredible. He’s playing more aggressive and his weight of shot is better and I think the belief he has in himself and his team have in him is clearly evident as well.
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“I’m sure over the past few years Cam’s mindset and feelings about the level of tennis he can play have been changing all the time.
“I know Cam wants to be world No.1 and for me as a coach it’s about trying to develop and committing to the processes, to become as good as you possibly can. Cam keeps showing that week in week out with the guys he’s beating, the depths of tournaments he’s getting into the latter stages of regularly."
Trotman worked as a coach at the LTA for several years and first met Norrie when he moved to the UK from New Zealand as a teenager.
Norrie’s potential was immediately recognisable to Trotman, a former junior Grand Slam doubles champion.
Trotman added: “Cam was 17 years old. He came over from New Zealand at that time and started in British tennis. He was a top junior so he had a high potential at that stage, and I certainly have believed in him ever since that time he came over.
“He’s taken a different path to some, going through US college tennis which was the right thing for him to do at that time. It gave him a chance to mature a little bit, to find what he wanted to do with his tennis and have a little bit of normality in his life while he was going through those things.
“There were certainly signs of his potential. I don’t think everybody is the finished article at that age and that’s why you go through the development and put in the hours and hours of hard work.
“The one thing with Cam is his drive and desire, his work ethic. He surrounds himself with good people, he’s loyal to the people around him and it doesn’t surprise me where he's at.”
If he continues his current trajectory, this might not be the last time Norrie finds himself at the business end of a Slam - or the focus of adulation from the British public
Trotman said: “Cam’s been a top player now for several years and he won the Masters event over in Indian Wells, which was amazing, but to do it in front of the British tennis public here this week is going to start to promote his profile.
“People are going to start to get behind him. I think his story is going to get bigger and bigger.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website