Wimbledon 2022: Defeated Norrie admits he now has taste for tennis high life

Cameron Norrie seems an unerringly grounded sort of bloke but he admits he’s now got a taste for the tennis high life.

Norrie might have arrived at the All England Club as the British number one but despite cracking the world’s top ten could still walk sport’s most famous postcode largely unrecognised.

Not anymore, with a run to a first Grand Slam semi-final finally ended by six-time champion Novak Djokovic.

In the end the Serbian’s experience was just too much, as he secured a 27th consecutive win here and his 85th in total, moving him beyond Jimmy Connors and now behind only Roger Federer.

He has also now reached 32 grand slam finals – a new men’s all-time record. If tennis success is judged on the numbers, Djokovic’s figures are quite remarkable.

Norrie said after his quarter-final win over David Goffin that matches really start at the two hour mark – in this clash that was about the point it all went downhill.

He raced to the first set in a flurry of winners and then won just nine games in the three that followed, losing 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 as his self-belief seemed to evaporate on a sweltering Centre Court.

“It’s tough to take, it started pretty well, he seemed a bit nervous but he dried up his errors and then made it really difficult for me,” admitted Norrie.

“He raised his game and served unbelievably well and made it tough for me to get into his service. He just locked it down.

“It was the biggest match of my career and I made a good start but it wasn’t enough. The level of execution and focus from him was just better than me.

“I used the crowd to my advantage and he looked like he was getting a bit distracted by it. I enjoyed the atmosphere but not the result.

“I feel everyone has got behind me. It’s the first time people have got to know me and the way I play and operate. I’m pleased to have given them something to cheer about. It’s been a crazy fortnight.”

Norrie will need a few more days like this to be mentioned in the same breath as Tim Henman, Andy Murray or Emma Raducanu but there is plenty of cause for optimism with his fortnight’s sweat and toil.

The tennis circus rolls relentlessly on and Norrie will start his US hard court campaign in Atlanta later this month.

The lack of ranking status, due to Wimbledon’s decision to exclude Russian and Belorussian players, means Norrie won’t be picking up the 720 points this run would have generated, which would have moved him up to career high of world number eight.

However, these last six matches have taught him something more valuable – this is a stage where he belongs.

“I need to keep working hard, there are lots of things to improve on my game,” he added.

“To reach the semi-finals is sick but I want to win a slam. There’s been a lot of firsts for me and a lot of good experiences and learning.

“I’ve learned it’s a long couple of weeks and you need to be patient with yourself.”

Djokovic is famed for his attention to detail and admits he sees a bit of himself in Norrie, who is likely to be back on British shores for the Davis Cup in Glasgow later this year.

“Before the match I saw he brings his own scales to weigh himself, he doesn’t trust the ones in the locker room,” he said.

“It seemed to me that he’s really being very precise with his weight and how much liquids he’s losing.

“He’s very thorough about his preparation and his recovery. I like to see that because I have that kind of approach. You’re always going to get rewards for being so professional.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website

PHOTO CAPTION: Novak Djokovic defeated Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie (pictured) in the semi finals of Wimbledon (Reuters via Beat Media Group subscription)

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