British No.1 bounds into Wimbledon semi-final despite lacklustre start
Cam-tastic Norrie puts us in dreamland: British No. 1 bounds into Wimbledon semi-final despite lacklustre start… and JANE FRYER cheered him on through every point
- Cameron Norrie stood victorious as he made it through to Friday’s semi-final
- He is the first British man to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals since 2016
- Norrie defeated David Goffin on Court One on Day 9 of the tournament
- The tennis pro is now getting ready to face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals
Dare we dream? Should we hope? Can we really put ourselves through the agony of yet another Wimbledon fantasy? Silly question.
So there we are, on Day 9, pinning all our hopes on Cameron Norrie’s shoulders as he bounds about Court One, battling it out with David Goffin – the 31-year-old Belgian wild card – in the hope of being the first British man in the semis since 2016.
But hang on a minute. Cameron who, I hear you ask? To be fair – despite being ranked number 12 in the world and our Number One, we’ve been on a steep learning curve when it comes to our brand-new hero this week.
Cameron Norrie stood victorious as he made it through to Friday’s semi-final after defeating David Goffin on Court One. He is the first British man to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals since 2016
We’ve learnt that his nickname is Nozzer. That, when excitable, his fans like to cheer: ‘Norrie, Norrie, Norrie, Oi, Oi, Oi!’ That he would have been a cricketer if ‘all that fielding’ hadn’t been so boring. That he was once a party animal – and ‘not Christian at all’ – as a student at Texas Christian University, until he drunkenly smashed up both his motorbike and his chin and finally stopped enjoying life so much and buckled down to his tennis.
And also, that the reason we’ve never heard of him is because he’s spent most of his 26 years living in South Africa, New Zealand and the United States (which, presumably, is why his accent veers all over the place). But Cameron’s mother hails from Wales, his father from Scotland – where Norrie supports Rangers FC but doesn’t like the weather – and he has a British passport and a flat in south-west London. Which is good enough for us.
Frankly, at this stage in the tournament and with no homegrown talent left to cheer for, he could have grown up on the moon and we’d still be calling him British. So come on, Norrie, Nozzie, Cam, whatever…
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among the crowd celebrating Norrie’s victory on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London
Sadly, things don’t start well. Because while his backhand is blistering, his rhythm’s off, his forehand’s all over the place and our Nozzer makes endless mistakes and loses the first set.
For the first hour, the biggest excitement is when he whips off his sweaty shirt to reveal a tan and an exciting black panther tattoo.
It doesn’t help that the crowd is embarrassingly thin – presumably all glued to Djokovic’s epic fight-back next door on Centre Court. Or that, occasionally, great ripples of cheering come drifting over.
Have we pinned our hopes to the wrong man? Goffin is making mincemeat of him! He manages to win an uninspiring second set but by the end of the disastrous third, I can’t be alone in feeling rather despondent.
But, happily, not for long. Because in the fourth set, something shifts. The seats fill up, the excitement builds and Norrie’s game finally arrives. And it’s not flashy or jazzy, like his hero, Nick Kyrgios. But solid and dogged, just like him.
Suddenly, every point is met with a roar from the crowd. Every game, by air punches and cries of ‘Nozziiiiiii!’. Kate and Wills, who’ve hot-footed it over from Centre Court, are cheering and leaping up and down as if their seats are on fire.
Into the last hour and the atmosphere’s amazing – his rubbish start, a distant memory.
Louise Jacobi also watched on as her boyfriend went on to win his quarter-final in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon
We’re witnessing one of Wimbledon’s epic contests. Right up to the nail-biting end, where even Prince William can be heard shouting, ‘Come on!’, Kate is yelling ‘Norrie!’ and Cam’s girlfriend Louise Jacobi and his mother Helen are clutching each other in tears.
And finally, after three hours and 28 minutes of gruelling play, and just as we’re dreaming up new names for Henman Hill – Norrie’s Nook? Cameron’s Highland? – he only goes and wins. He’s got a place in the semi-final against Djokovic on Friday, for goodness’ sake.
And as he stands there afterwards – shell-shocked, victorious and tearful as he tells us how badly it started, how he wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t find his game – our new national hero Cameron Norrie couldn’t feel more British if he were wrapped in a Union Jack, eating a bag of fish and chips and singing God Save The Queen.
Come on, Norrie!
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