With win over world number 2 Carlos Alcaraz, distance-running enthusiast Cameron Norrie shows he has gas in tank for the long haul

As a player at the Texas Christian University (TCU), British Tennis player Cameron Norrie once ran a 10km marathon post his training session. The 27-year-old, who has competed in marathon five-setters on the ATP Tour circuit in the past, got the better of world number two Carlos Alcaraz of Spain with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win in the final of the Rio Open in Argentina to claim his fifth ATP Tour title. Norrie, who had reached Wimbledon semi-finals last year, before his loss against Novak Djokovic, is known for his fitness drills in the tennis circuit and that’s what his coach Devin Bowen had recalled.

“On his day off, he loves to run. He loves long-distance running as a hobby. There was a 10K in town and he just went and he didn’t text, he just did it. He ran the 10K and won it. It was like, ‘Yes, that’s great that you did that, but the whole point of today was to rest your body and we’re going to start up again.’ So he won the Fort Worth 10k, and that was just on a day off. It kind of gives you an idea of what kind of animal you’re dealing with,” Devin Bowen, assistant coach at TCU had told ATP Tour in an interview earlier.

Born to a Scottish father and a Welsh mother in Johannesburg in South Africa, a young Norrie grew up in Auckland and also represented New Zealand at the junior level. According to his mother Helen as reported by The Guardian, the youngster’s first tennis racket was a refurbished squad racket and Norrie played with it at the age of six in their backyard in their home in Auckland. Norrie moved to London having pledging allegiance to Britain at the age of 16 and was chosen for a scholarship at the Texas Christian University supported by London Tennis Association.

He spent more than four years in the USA before turning professional in 2017. Within an year, Norrie won his first Davis Cup match with a win over the then world number 23 Roberto Bautista Agut with former British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd terming his debut as one of the most impressive debuts in Davis Cup. The year also saw him making his Wimbledon main draw debut, where he lost to Jo-Wifried Tsonga in the first round before he made a second round appearance in the US Open. Starting 2021 at a world ranking of 74th, Corrie had 52 single’s wins on the ATP Tour with two titles resulting in his rise to world number 12.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts during the final of the Rio Open Tennis tournament against Cameron Norrie of the United Kingdom, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Norrie broke into the top-1 in world rankings last year with his fourth ATP Tour title in Lyon, France before he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals with a 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over David Goffin. Though he lost to eventual champion Djokovic in the semi-finals in a four-set match, Norrie termed the quarter-final win against Goffin as a crazy day. He would also cycle from his London home to Wimbledon courts during the tournament. “Not had too much time for it to sink in, but it was just a crazy day, and to do it in the way that I did in five sets, coming back from two-sets-to-one, I can’t really describe it. Just a lot of emotions, and a pretty sick match to get through. I’m just glad they (his parents) got to witness it and they definitely deserve a glass of wine each.” Norrie had told Sky Sports post the match.

Last December, Norrie scored a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over former world number one Rafael Nadal in a United Cup match. He had never won a set against Nadal in their four previous matches but his win gave Great Britain a 1-0 lead in the tie. Sunday’s title was Norrie’s fifth title on the ATP Tour and the 27-year-old won the match with an ace in the final set to win his second title on clay. “It’s so special to win this one especially after losing a couple of finals already this year. I had to do it the tough way, I was a set and a break down and 0-30 on my serve. I managed to flick a switch and turn it around, so it was a good day.” Norrie said post the win.

The 27-year-old also plans to run marathons post his tennis career. On being asked about his love for running, he had shared his views on running marathons post his tennis career. “I would maybe like to after tennis. I quite enjoy running, but I haven’t been able to do that much. I feel like when I’m resting, I have to chill and relax rather than I think maybe three years ago my team were like, ‘All right, rest’, and then I’ll go the next day and run a little bit. I feel like now I’ve been a bit better with that and not really going out and running too much. I’m able to kind of rest and maybe do something different, try to play golf or do something like that rather than go out and run.” Corrie had told ATP Tour earlier.

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