Andy Murray inspiring Cameron Norrie ahead of Roger Federer clash

Norrie joined Murray and Dan Evans in the last 32 after a one-sided victory over Alex Bolt.

Eleanor Crooks
Thursday 01 July 2021 20:18
Cameron Norrie salutes the crowd
Cameron Norrie salutes the crowd

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 to set up a clash with Roger Federer

Norrie thumped wild card Alex Bolt 6-3 6-1 6-2 to join Murray and Dan Evans in the last 32 and will now take on the eight-time champion.

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.

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.

“It’s great that each of us are pushing each other. 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.”

Cameron Norrie was rock solid against Alex Bolt

Norrie played Federer once before, at the exhibition Hopman Cup in Australia at the start of the 2019 season, losing 6-1 6-1.

The 25-year-old said: “I think the guy’s obviously such a legend of the game, he’s very comfortable here, very confident. First of all, it’s just going to be a pleasure to play against him again. I played him once before. He absolutely whacked me pretty easily.

“I remember when I walked out, it was all dark. Then I remember looking back, and he was walking out, the whole stadium was blacked out and dark, and the spotlight was on him. He was coming out to play me. I felt like I was in a video game, going to play Roger Federer. It was a great experience.”

Norrie, who has now reached the third round at all of the grand slams in the last year, made a nervous start against Bolt and lost the first three games but responded with a run of 11 in a row and won 18 of the last 21.

He 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.

Norrie 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.

Cameron Norrie found Court One to his liking

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.”