Cameron Norrie reveals the one shot that has taken Novak Djokovic’s game to the next level
British No 1 Cameron Norrie has lifted the lid on the one shot that has allowed Novak Djokovic to pull clear of the chasing pack and establish himself as the greatest player of all-time.
Speaking exclusively to Tennis365 at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre in London, Lexus Ambassador Norrie offered a fascinating insight into what it feels like to face the world No 1 in the heat of battle.
Norrie took the opening set from Djokovic in their 2022 Wimbledon semi-final and the Brit pushed the Serbian star in a tight Davis Cup quarter-final tie in Malaga earlier this month.
Yet when Norrie explains why the challenge of beating Djokovic had proved to be the ultimate task in tennis, it is not his thumping forehand or rock-solid backhand that is the secret to his success, as it is an aspect of his serve that has pushed the game to new heights.
Djokovic’s coach Gorna Ivanesevic had one of the biggest serves in tennis during a career that saw him win the Wimbledon title in 1992 and Norrie suggests the world No 1 now has a serve that is hard to match, with his accuracy more significant than his power.
“Seeing how well he managed his service games in the Davis Cup match and how well he was hitting his spots was crazy,” Norrie told Tennis365.
“I think got to 30 (points) once in his service games and I felt like I was returning well. So it was a good learning experience. If I could get to the point where I can manage my service games like him, it would be nice.
“I watched Djokovic in the ATP Finals against (Jannik) Sinner and he couldn’t even get close to in his service games again. The spots he can hit consistently are amazing. His serve has improved more than any other shot.”
Norrie has played Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic and when it comes to the question of who was the greatest, he offers up this answer.
“Djokovic was at the highest level of the three. It was the toughest match-up for me” he stated.
“I played Federer at Wimbledon two years ago and had a lot of chances in that match.
“I didn’t start too well and the first couple of sets in that match could have done differently. He played really well in the fourth set.
“But Novak has taken his game to the next level in the last few years and that is proved by the titles he has won.”
Norrie is now drawing inspiration from his meeting with Djokovic at the Davis Cup as he prepares for a brief pre-season ahead of his first match of the new campaign on December 29th at the United Cup in Australia.
The British No 1 admits he was ‘very disappointed’ with his performances in 2023 that included a win against Carlos Alcaraz in the final of an ATP 500 event in Rio at the start of the year, but his dip in form after that was a concern.
Now the 28-year-old is focusing on improving his fitness and serve ahead of his return to action.
“It is time to reset now and go again,” he added. “I was very disappointed with the year overall, even though I feel like I hit the ball as well as at any point in my career.
“I need to learn from this year and go again. I’ve learned so much from what I didn’t go well this year and the serve is an area I will be working on in the next few weeks.
“It’s such a short off-season as I’m flying to Australia on December 23rd, so I just have a few weeks to regroup and try to be at my best for the start of the year.”
Even though Norrie declared himself disappointed with his efforts in 2023, he still finished in the top 20 of the ATP rankings and clearly, he is eager to aim for so much more in 2024.
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