Cameron Norrrie was born in 1995 to British parents in South Africa, but the family moved to the safer environment of New Zealand when he was 3: at 16, however, he emigrated to Great Britain where there would be more funding for his tennis career.
Progress was initially unspectacular, so in 2014 he moved again, to the USA, to attend Texas Christian University. Here, Cam began to thrive, and left before completing his final year in 2017 in order to pursue the full-time tennis career which, as at September 2022, has seen him rise to number 8 in the World.
Cameron Norrie Playing Style
So, how has a player who was never considered outstanding at junior level, or even during the next few years, made it to the top 10 in the world?
Cameron Norrie has learned how to make the most of what he has, and has developed a game style which many opponents find extremely difficult to combat. Added to this, he is extremely fit, and works on the basis that the longer a match goes, the more likely he is to win it.
The secret to Cam’s rise up the rankings has been a combination of key improvements in his game and massively increased self-belief. His serve has become more effective, and his returns have become more aggressive. He has also realised that clay courts suit his game style, and has enjoyed excellent results on these.
Cam is primarily a baseline player, although he will move to the net to finish a point if he senses a good opportunity. There is a huge contrast in the style of his forehand and backhand, which can affect the rhythm of his opponents, and as a left-hander he can get angles with his serve which trouble right-handed players. He is also prepared to chase every ball and rally indefinitely, as he believes that his fitness is a match for anyone’s.
Cameron Norrie Stroke Analysis
Cameron Norrie’s forehand is a flowing shot, using a grip that possibly goes slightly beyond Semi-Western towards Western. He applies a lot of topspin to the ball, such that his forehand spins almost as much as that of Rafael Nadal. The shot is not quite as fierce as that of Nadal, but it can still be an effective attacking weapon.
Although it would be difficult to describe Cam Norrie as an out and out attacking player, he is capable of dictating rallies with his topspin forehand. The style of this shot, combined with his liking for long rallies, explains why clay court tennis suits him so much.
If Cam’s forehand is one of the most heavily spun shots on Tour, his backhand is the complete opposite, being pretty much the flattest shot out there. Cam has a slightly inelegant double-hander which at first sight looks like it might be a weakness. In practice, it is extremely solid and can be an effective weapon in its own right.
The nature of Cam’s groundstrokes explains why many opponents find him difficult to play. If they hit to his forehand, they will get an extremely heavily spun reply: go to his backhand and he will hit a flat ball which seems to rise no more than about an inch above the net. In addition, he misses very little, and never seems to get tired.
Cameron Norrie has learned to use his left-handed serve far more effectively over the years, and the statistics back this up. He can slice or kick the serve well, and, while it is not one of the fastest serves on tour, it certainly allows him to take charge of points and attack the third ball of the rally. One of the big improvements in Cam’s game during his rise to the top 10 was in the number of points won on serve, which he was able to increase by over 5% in just a couple of years.
One aspect of Cam’s serve which may restrict him slightly is the high ball toss, which prevents him from developing a quicker rhythm and forces him to pause during the action.
Return of Serve
Cameron Norrie has always made a fairly high percentage of returns, but this is another area where his game has evolved. Although a glance at the statistics might suggest that little has changed, delving deeper shows that his performance on key return points, such as break points, has improved significantly. This is due to the fact that he has become more aggressive on these points.
Watching Cam play when he was lower in the rankings will show that he had a tendency to be excessively passive on big points, just waiting for opponents to make a mistake. By 2022, he was more prepared to attack the ball in these situations, making a few more errors but profiting overall. He is now a much more positive player in tight situations.
Volleying is an area of Cameron Norrie’s game which is sometimes slightly underrated. His volleys are sound on both sides, and he is happy to come to the net from time to time in order to pressure his opponent, even serving and volleying occasionally.
“Norrie EBN17 (8)” flickr photo by si.robi https://flickr.com/photos/sirobi/35844805656 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
What Is Cameron Norrie Famous For?
Cameron Norrie is famous for being one of the fittest players on tour and enjoying long matches. With his awkward style, playing very different shots on either side, he is something of a nightmare to play against. He is known as a late developer who has apparently come from nowhere to become a serious contender for the major prizes.
As part of his rise to the top of the game, Cam has started to put in vastly improved performances in the big events, winning Indian Wells in 2021, and reaching the semi-final of Wimbledon in 2022.
By September 2022, he was a worthy British number one.
Cameron Norrie is a tennis player who has found his identity. He knows how he wants to play, and believes that he can compete with the best on any surface.
- He is super-fit.
- He has a heavily topspun forehand.
- In contrast, his backhand is extremely flat.
- He has an awkward left-handed serve and follows it up positively.
- He returns aggressively when he gets the chance and is unafraid of moving in to the net.
As a result of all of this, as at 2022, Cameron Norrie is one of the best players in the world.
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