Norrie puts us in dreamland: British No. 1 bounds into Wimbledon semi-final despite lacklustre start
Do we dare to dream? Should we hope? Can we really help ourselves through the pain of yet another Wimbledon fantasy? Crazy question.
So here we are, on Day 9, putting all our hopes on Cameron Norrie’s shoulders as he races across Court One and battles it out with David Goffin – the 31-year-old Belgian wildcard – hoping to be the first British man in the semifinals since 2016.
But wait a minute. Cameron who, I hear you ask? To be fair, despite being number 12 in the world and our number one, we’ve been through a steep learning curve this week when it comes to our brand new hero.
Cameron Norrie took the win as he reached Friday’s semi-final after beating David Goffin on Court One. He is the first Briton to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals since 2016.
We have learned that his nickname is Nozzer. Those are fans, when excited, 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 both his motorcycle and chin, and eventually stopped enjoying life as much and clung to his tennis.
And also, the reason we’ve never heard of him is because he’s lived most of his 26 years in South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States (which is presumably why his accent is all over the place. ). But Cameron’s mother is 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.
Honestly, at this stage of the tournament and with no homegrown talent to cheer for, he could have grown up on the moon and we’d still call him British. So come on, Norrie, Nozzie, Cam, whatever…
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended to celebrate Norrie’s win on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London
Norrie’s mother Helen seemed emotional as her son defeated Goffin to reach the semi-finals
Unfortunately, things don’t start well. Because while his backhand is blistering, his rhythm is off, his forehand is everywhere and our Nozzer makes endless mistakes and loses the first set.
The first hour is the biggest excitement when he takes off his sweaty shirt to reveal a tan and a hot 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 Center Court. Or that every now and then great ripples of cheer float by.
Have we pinned our hopes on the wrong man? Goffin makes mincemeat of him! He manages to win an uninspiring second set, but towards the end of the disastrous third I can’t be the only one feeling a bit despondent.
But luckily not for long. Because in the fourth set something shifts. The seats fill up, the tension builds and Norrie’s game finally arrives. And it’s not flashy or jazzy like its hero, Nick Kyrgios. But solid and tenacious, just like him.
Suddenly every point is answered with a roar from the crowd. Every game, through blasts of air and shouts of ‘Nozziiiiiii!’ Kate and Wills, who jumped at the heart from Center Court, cheer and jump up and down as if their seats are on fire.
The last hour in and the atmosphere is great – his crappy start, a distant memory.
Louise Jacobi also watched her boyfriend win his quarterfinals in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon
We witness one of Wimbledon’s epic matches. To the nail-biting end, where even Prince William “Come on!” yells, Kate yells ‘Norrie!’ and Cam’s girlfriend Louise Jacobi and his mother Helen hold each other in tears.
And finally, after three hours and 28 minutes of grueling play, and just as we’re coming up with new names for Henman Hill – Norrie’s Nook? Cameron Highland? – he just goes and wins. For God’s sake he has a place in Friday’s semi-final against Djokovic.
And as he stands there afterwards – shocked, victorious and in tears as he tells us how bad it started, how he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t find his game – our new national hero Cameron Norrie couldn’t feel more British when he was in wrapped a Union Jack, ate a bag of fish and chips and sang God Save The Queen.
Come on, Norrie!