Cameron Norrie believes he is ready to take over from Sir Andy Murray as Great Britain’s torchbearer in Davis Cup ties after his eureka moment at Wimbledon.
Although he was “frustrated” not to pick up any ranking points after his breakthrough run to the semi-finals in SW19, Britain’s No.1 wants to surf the wave in front of a home crowd in Glasgow with ties vs Holland, the United States and Kazakhstan. Norrie hopes Murray, for so long the pied piper of Union flag-wavers in Davis Cup cliffhangers, will be among his team-mates at the Emirates Arena from September 14-18.
And Norrie, who burst out of anonymity with a stunning win against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on clay in a Davis Cup tie four years ago, feels equipped to take over the baton. He said: “Andy was unbelievable in Davis Cup, watching him doing that, bringing home the Davis Cup for Great Britain was incredible to watch.
“I will go and do my best – we have a great team, Evo (Dan Evans) plays well on indoor hards. We have a tough team and we have some of the best doubles players in the world at the moment. We have good depth to the team, I am ready, it’s my favourite surface, I am as ready I can hope to be and I am looking forward to it.
“I don’t know if Andy will be on the team – it hasn’t been selected yet – but hopefully he is there and he can share some wisdom. We can pick his brains on a few things, some tactics for sure, and it will be wonderful to have him there, spend another week with the team.
“I won’t change anything, I don’t feel any different. I like the atmosphere, I like playing for more than just yourself. You are playing for your country, which I cannot wait to do again. I am looking forward to a good crowd as well – Innsbruck last year, there wasn’t a lot going on. It wasn’t a true Davis Cup feeing. I am looking forward to playing at home, playing in front of a full crowd and having my team shouting there. We can all use that to our advantage.”
Norrie still regards his excursion on Spanish clay in 2018 as a seminal moment in his career, saying: “I think for me that was one of the first moments on the Tour where I felt like I belonged.
“To have those two matches with Bautista followed up with Ramos was unbelievable. To make that Davis Cup debut was so cool, and it set the tone for me. I really wanted to keep on with that mindset. At the time I was a very raw player, very inexperienced on the Tour, fresh out of college. I am way more experienced now and my game has improved a lot since then. I will be happy to play that level again.”
For Norrie, the removal of ranking points from Wimbledon – over the All England Club’s ban on Russian players because of the war in Ukraine – has removed a layer of gloss from the prospect of being GB’s band leader, instead of backing vocals, in Glasgow.
Seeded No.9 in SW19, he remains 13th on the ATP rankings and he admitted: “Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about that the day after Wimbledon but, for me, it’s a little bit frustrating.
“There is nothing you can do, but at least it doesn’t change so much – I am still in the main draw of all these tournaments, I am still seeded relatively highly in most of them. It is a little bit of a shame not to be rewarded for the rankings side of that, but if you look at the other Brits – Alastair Gray won a round, Ryan Peniston won a round, Liam Broady made the third round… for those guys, it hurts them even more, especially as they are pushing to get into the main draw of the Slams.
“I am fortunate because for me, it changed nothing – it gives me a lot of confidence to know I can make semis of a Grand Slam, not even on my favourite surface. It’s a shame with no points. It makes me even more hungry to go and get back to the top 10 regardless of that, not having any points.”