In four increasingly successful seasons on the ATP Tour, Cameron Norrie has become the stealth bomber of British tennis, quietly downing better-known targets while attracting very little attention.
This situation suits his understated character, which was forged in the swank-free climate of Auckland, New Zealand.
But if Norrie – who is 25 – should win Queen’s on Sunday, he will not be able to avoid the spotlight for much longer.
After a straight-sets win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov – a perfect example of the sort of celebrated and eye-catching player he enjoys dismantling – Norrie is guaranteed to climb to at least No34 in the rankings and thus claim a Wimbledon seeding for the first time. Even more remarkably, he also stands at No12 in the Race to Turin.
At this rate, it would only take a couple of injury-related pull-outs to send him to the end-of-year ATP Finals as an alternate. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Norrie after his 7-5, 6-3 win over Shapovalov.
“I played very, very good today. I was extremely large on some big points. I am so pleased to be through to the final here.
I cannot even describe it.” This is a rare feat for a British player, previously accomplished by only two men in the 21st Century.
The first was Tim Henman, whose title hopes were frustrated by a pair of nemeses in Pete Sampras and Lleyton Hewitt.—AP