Anticipation builds as Cameron Norrie faces biggest match of career at Wimbledon

Anticipation is building as British tennis number one Cameron Norrie faces the biggest match of his career.

The 26-year-old is set for a tough semi-final against top seed Novak Djokovic on Center Court on Friday afternoon.

Norrie is the fourth British man in the Open era to ever reach the last four at the All England Club.

His profile has sky-rocketed during the tournament, with some fans rechristening the famous Wimbledon hill Norrie Knoll.

Novak Djokovic (John Walton/PA)

(PA Wire)

Speaking after his victory over Belgium’s David Goffin on Tuesday, Norrie backed himself to defeat Djokovic.

Asked if he can win, Norrie said: “For sure. I think it’s obviously one of the toughest tasks in tennis.

“I’d say grass is his favorite surface and his record is unbelievable here at Wimbledon. It’s going to be tough.”

Meanwhile, the semi-final match between Australian Nick Kyrgios and Spaniard Rafael Nadal, which was set to take place on the court afterwards, will now no longer be going ahead.

Fans were “devastated” for Nadal when he pulled out on Thursday evening due to an abdominal injury, giving Kyrgios a walkover into Sunday’s final.

Sinead Goggin, 40, an account manager from Ireland, told the PA news agency: “It’s just pure devastation. I’m devastated for him.”

Some also said it was “unfair” that Kyrgios would get to go straight to the final with four days off while Norrie and Djokovic have to play Friday’s semi-final.

Property developer Edmund Johnson, 29, from Wimbledon, said he felt Kyrgios had now “been given an advantage”.

Nick Kyrgios (Adam Davy/PA)

(PA Wire)

Despite the disappointment at Nadal’s withdrawal, crowds of people are still expected to flock to the SW19 grounds and queue up for tickets on Friday to cheer on Norrie.

Earlier in the tournament, fans described the British player as “mysterious” but more information has emerged about Norrie in recent days as his profile grows.

His girlfriend Louise Jacobi, 32, opened up about her relationship with “easy-going” Norrie.

When asked about how she was feeling for Norrie’s next game against defending champion Djokovic, Ms Jacobi told the PA news agency: “It’s definitely going to be a tough match. But I know he can do it.”

Meanwhile, Norrie’s college coach on Wednesday described the sacrifices the British number one made to become a professional tennis player after a “crossroad” moment when he crashed a moped after drinking.

David Robiti, who was one of his coaches alongside Devin Bowen for “The Horned Frogs” tennis team at TCU, told PA that they had to sit him down and tell him to change his behavior if he wanted to be a professional player.

Mr Robiti said: “What he learned from it was that he missed a big opportunity because of something that happened off court.”

He added: “And credit to him, he decided he wanted to be a professional from that moment and his choices were very good.

Louise Jacobi with Cameron Norrie (Louise Jacobi/PA)

(AP Mean)

“All the success that he is having is due to his work and his decision-making.”

His current coach, Facundo Lugones, also gave fans an insight into how “competitive” the 26-year-old is, spending his time off court playing backgammon and Ludo with his fitness trainer.

On Norrie as a tennis player, Mr Lugones said: “You never want to sell Norrie shorts. He doesn’t get the hype that other players get for similar results.

“But I don’t think he cares about that. If anything, it motivates him to do better and be in these moments more often.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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