‘I’ve learned that he’s actually a human being,’ jokes Cameron Norrie ahead of possible Rafael Nadal clash
Cameron Norrie vowed to take the fight to Rafael Nadal if he gets another shot at the clay master in the third round of the French Open.
Norrie matched his US Open and Australian Open exploits by reaching the last 32 at Roland Garros with a gritty 4-6 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over South Africa’s Lloyd Harris.
He is yet to go further at a grand slam, and to do so he is likely to have to cause the mother of all upsets, with Nadal due to take on Richard Gasquet in his second-round clash on Thursday evening.
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 3, 2021
It would be a third meeting of the season between the pair, with Norrie acquitting himself very well at the same stage of the Australian Open and then facing the great Spaniard on clay in Barcelona in April.
“I’ve learned that he’s actually a human being,” said Norrie. “He can miss shots. He can play short at times. But then you give him a little bit of room for him to find his forehand, he gets it going. He can be extremely dangerous. It can be absolute carnage going into the forehand there.
“I’ve played him twice in Australia and in Barcelona, so I definitely know how he plays and he knows how I play. But I’m just going to look to bring my game and looking forward to take it to him again.
“I think, especially with my backhand, I can do a lot of damage. I’m not going to give too much away. So just focus on what I’ve been doing well and go and try and execute and leave it all out on the court, and I think just use my legs to my advantage.
“I feel great physically, which is a bonus for me, and I’ll back my legs against anyone, even against Rafa. But I’m going to have to execute, and it’s not going to be easy.”
Norrie paid for a slow start against Harris as the South African took his only break point of the match in the third game and used his big serve and forehand well.
Harris is another man who has had a very strong 2021, and he beat 26th seed Lorenzo Sonego in round one, but ultimately he could not match Norrie’s relentless play.
A double fault gave Norrie the breakthrough early in the second set and from there he made sure he gave nothing away all the way to the finish line.
Having been frustrated by his performance against Bjorn Fratangelo in round one despite winning in straight sets, Norrie said: “I think today I didn’t do much wrong in the first set. He came out and he was serving well and hitting his forehand well and I wasn’t finding his backhand as much.
“I just knuckled down and stayed very calm and ended up executing a little bit better, and he dropped his level a little bit. I was really happy with how I handled it.
“And I think I could have easily got frustrated with him serving rockets and hitting the spots and playing quick points, and it was actually pretty lively out there again today. It was so humid, and it was actually a pretty physical match. I was happy with how I came back.”
Whatever happens on Saturday, Norrie may already have done enough to break into the top 40 for the first time, which would be entirely merited.
Australian Open news: Murray and Kyrgios unimpressed by Ronaldo chant
A celebration invented by Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo found its way into the Australian Open.
Emma Raducanu news: Brit set for huge rankings rise as next opponent is revealed
Britain’s Emma Raducanu answered plenty of questions…
Liam Broady news: ‘Playing Nick Kyrgios was absolutely awful’
Liam Broady says Nick Kyrgios controlled the crowd.
Australian Open feature: Anyone for actual tennis? Andy Murray erases the blue mood
Tim Ellis explains why the focus should be solely on-court now at the Australian Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas news: Greek eager to correct his mistakes after first-round win
Stefanos Tsitsipas wants to up his game in the second round of the Australian Open.
Aryna Sabalenka news: Doubles champ battles serve issue to stay in Aus Open
She was very close to crashing out of the tournament.
Andy Murray news: Scot makes emotional return and admits ‘I would love to have a deep run here’
Andy Murray returned to the court where he had virtually retired three years ago.
Emma Raducanu news: From blistering start to second-set slump to three-set win for US Open champion
The 19-year-old beat 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Australian Open news: How well are Heather Watson and fellow Brits playing so far?
Watson is “riding her positive wave.”
Daniil Medvedev news: The world No 2 eases into the second round in Melbourne
The Russian made lightwork of his opponent Henri Laaksonen.