TENNIS

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Cameron Norrie | ATP Tour

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Cameron Norrie | ATP Tour, the vie

Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie did not drop a set all week en route to his first ATP Tour title at the Mifel Open on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is enjoying a career-best season this year, having now notched 35 tour-level wins this year. The lefty was competing in his fourth ATP Tour final of the season in Los Cabos, after enjoying runs to the championship match in Estoril, Lyon, and London.

ATPTour.com caught up with the World No. 30 after his maiden title in Los Cabos.

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What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
I feel very happy. I couldn’t be more proud of myself, proud of my team and how I handled the week. I am happy how I improved every match. I used my experience a little bit today and I think it showed in the match… I think it’s a huge bonus. It was always a goal of mine to get my first title. Obviously I’d lost three finals this year, so it was very nice to get over the line today. I’m going to enjoy it tonight and then [go] straight back to work.

This was your fourth final of the year and fifth overall. What did you learn from those first chances that helped you win tonight?
I think I was always the underdog in the other finals this year. I played Albert [Ramos-Vinolas] in the first one then Stefanos Tsitispas in the next and [Matteo] Berrettini in the other one. They were all tough matches, and I was close to getting over the line with Albert and I think I relaxed a little bit there. I learned there to keep the foot on the other guy’s neck and keep pressing and taking it to the other guy. I managed to really step it up today in the second set and kept Brandon Nakashima penned to the corners. Also, to be a bit calmer in some of the bigger moments.

When we asked you before the start of the season who will make a big breakthrough in 2021, you picked yourself. What did you know then that we didn’t?
I think I am doing the fundamentals very well, serve and return. Also, playing the big points well. Just focusing in on big games and executing my game when I need to. Finding a first serve or finding a good passing shot or the one being aggressive. Physically, I am feeling great. I am moving well and trusting my body, especially out in the corners. I think I have kept my momentum going really well.

How special is your relationship with your coach, Facundo? What did you first think of him when you first met him at TCU and how important has he become to you both on and off the court?
Facundo is a great guy. I played on the team with him for one year and asked him to coach me in my first year turning pro in 2017. I think he is a good balance of being a friend and a professional. He is very passionate about tennis, and he is always willing to learn and do more, going above and beyond. I think he really gets the best out of me. It is nice to have someone who knows you well off the court. I can tell him anything, how I am feeling before the match, and I think it is important you can have someone you can speak openly with about how you are feeling. Facundo has been a very good role model for me.

Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and tennis playing career who have helped you to reach this milestone?
Big thanks to my parents back in New Zealand. They have sacrificed a lot. I remember my mum driving me to tennis early in the mornings for 6:15 a.m. practice and she had everything prepared. Then moving to London when I was 16-years-old, James Trotman really helped me throughout my time there. He still helps me and overlooks my tennis with Facundo and the rest of my team. TCU tennis, Devin Bowen and David Roditi set me up well. I made a lot of mistakes in college, so it was nice to learn there and have those role models. Then all my friends and family that have made a positive impact on me. Also, my team right now, and big thanks to my girlfriend for putting up with everything.

How much do you remember from playing tennis in the driveway as a kid and how surreal is it that you’re now here as an ATP Tour champion?
I would never have thought I would have got here, but here we are and I could not be more pleased. It was very special for me to get on the Tour and do this for a living.

What do you consider to be your biggest passion outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about that interest?
Watching sport. NFL, football, a little bit of basketball, cricket as well, and watching tennis. So, all sports, and with Covid, I have had a lot of time to follow everything and have been involved in a lot of fantasy leagues.

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