Cameron Norrie exclusive on his biggest lesson from 2023 and why he believes he can become world No 1

Cameron Norrie spoke to Tennis365 in his role as a Lexus ambassador

British No 1 Cameron Norrie raised eyebrows when he stated his desire to become world No 1 last summer, with his form in the second half of 2023 suggesting he has a lot of work to do to reach that ambitious goal.

Yet this is a tennis player who has already exceeded expectations by reaching a Wimbledon semi-final, winning an ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells in 2021 and breaking into the world’s top 10.

In the first part of our exclusive interview with Lexus ambassador Cameron Norrie, we look back on a year that has highs and lows for a player who has ambitions to reach the very top.

You said earlier this year that your goal is to be No 1 in the world. Is that realistic over the next couple of years?

That’s what I want. It was a big call for me to make, but that’s my goal. It is the benchmark in tennis. If you are acting like the number one player in the world every day, then you have a better chance to get there. This year, I didn’t do that as much as I would like and you have to learn from that. We review the year at this point and it is something I want to do more moving forward. Have a mindset to be No 1. I have got to No 8 in the world and I think going higher is definitely doable.

How do you reflect on your year overall?

I was very disappointed. Honestly, the way I was hitting the ball was the best of my career so far, but there is a lot of learning to do. The last three years, I think I have played more matches than anyone on the whole tour. There were a lot of matches and a lot of travelling, which I love. But getting a bit more experience and a little older, I’m going to look at the schedule a little closer. Maybe have one or two weeks off.

So do you feel you have played too many tournaments?

I am a guy who always wants to do more, always wants that little bit extra. That’s my game style as well and if you are not fresh, it can be tough to do that. My game does not knock guys off the court with massive serving, so I need to be 100 per cent fresh. Maybe not playing one week and prioritising a bigger tournament will be something I look at.

What are the positives from this year for you?

I don’t have regrets. I try to take positives from everything and in what was a really average year, I finished at No 18 in the world, so it is pretty decent. You always want more as a tennis player, but I’m excited for what is to come next year.

Tennis365 reporter Kevin Palmer with British No 1 Cameron Norrie
Tennis365 reporter Kevin Palmer with British No 1 Cameron Norrie

Is fame important to you?

It’s never been a goal of mine, I have no interest in it. But it comes when you win a lot of matches. Where it is good is when you have a day with kids in a local park and they are happy to see you because of what you have done on the court. I was one of those kids not so long ago and if younger kids recognise me and I inspire them, that’s more important than someone in the street asking me for a selfie! I’d much rather be No 1 in the world than be the most famous tennis player and ranked at No 12.

Why did you start this partnership with Lexus?

From the beginning, we saw eye-to-eye on the sustainability issue. I have always been riding my bike to train at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre or when I’m going to Wimbledon because I live in that area of London. They gave me a fully electric car was exactly what I needed to come to work every day and we share those values. It’s great to work with Lexus on promotions that highlight their passion to drive their passion for sustainability forward.

Is there a danger that some tennis players have too many sponsors?

The priority always needs to be on the sport. You need the right people around you to make sure that the sponsorship deals you do can fit into the life we lead as tennis players. There is a lot of travelling, playing tournaments and training and that always has to be the focus. Doing a deal with a company like Lexus fits in with what I am doing on the court. 

We will have more from our exclusive interview with Cameron Norrie later this week on Tennis365.

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