‘It’s unbelievable,’ says Cameron Norrie after becoming third British man to reach Wimbledon third round
Cameron Norrie took inspiration from Andy Murray as he made it three British men through to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time this century.
Norrie thumped wildcard Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 to join Murray and Dan Evans in the last-32 and could get a shot at Roger Federer next.
It was back in 1999 when Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Danny Sapsford all made it through to round three, and the fact it had not happened since says everything about the lack of strength in depth in British tennis.
1st time since 1999 that 3 British men have reached the 3rd round at #Wimbledon
— LTA (@the_LTA) July 1, 2021
The same is still true but, in Evans and Norrie, Britain has two genuine world-class performers, and they have the perfect role model in Murray.
Norrie said: “It’s obviously unbelievable to have three British guys in the third round, especially for Andy. I watched both his matches. He’s battled through some tough moments out there.
“I think it’s great that he’s come through that. I’m happy for him that he’s feeling good out there again.
“It’s great for us to have each other to bounce off. I practised with Andy a lot last year over the break and during the Battle of the Brits, and Evo a lot. It’s great that each of us are pushing each other.
“All credit to Evo. He’s playing great. He had a very comfortable win yesterday. All of us have good opportunities to go even further. It’s great that we’re all going deep, especially at Wimbledon.
“We have some younger ones, some very good talent coming through, as well. It’s just cool for all of us to have Andy still around playing and chatting to him, hearing his insights.
“Obviously he speaks about the game at such a high, high level, so in depth. It’s nice to see the way he approaches matches and situations and practices, seeing how him and his team work. I think it’s great for the future generations like myself, leading into some of the younger guys, as well.”
Norrie, who has now reached the third round at all of the Grand Slams in the last year, made a nervous start and lost the first three games but responded with a run of 11 in a row and won 18 of the last 21.
The 25-year-old has been phenomenally consistent at a very high level in 2021, reaching three ATP Tour finals, most recently on grass at Queen’s Club, where he was beaten in three sets by Matteo Berrettini.
This was his 31st win of the year, putting him behind only Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev on the men’s tour, while, based on this year’s results alone, he is close to the top 10.
His ranking is actually at a career high of 34, enough to earn him a seeding at a grand slam for the first time, and he has certainly lived up to his billing.
He would have expected to beat 28-year-old Bolt, who has never made the top 100, but the Australian does know his way around a grass court and earned a wild card by winning one of the warm-up events in Nottingham.
Bolt made an impressive start, breaking Norrie with a fine pass and moving into a 3-0 lead, but from there it was one-way traffic.
Norrie felt it was a step up from his first match against Lucas Pouille, and he was relieved to find the court a lot less slippery.
He said: “The biggest thing for me was I really found it on the returns and I managed to neutralise the first serve and get into longer rallies. I think that suited me. Overall I didn’t really give him too much.
“I felt, in comparison to the first match, I moved really well. I think just with a little bit of sunshine, a little bit of time for the court to dry out, I could really trust the foot, especially moving to the forehand side.”
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