Cam Norrie’s sensational breakthrough year went to new heights in the early hours of Monday morning when he became Indian Wells champion and Britain’s new No 1.
By beating Diego Schwartzman last week to reach his first ATP Masters semi-final in Indian Wells on Friday, Norrie guaranteed he would overtake Dan Evans in the British standings.
Two days later he won the ‘fifth major’ on the tennis calendar by seeing off Nikoloz Basilashvili and pocketing a huge £880,000 in prize money as his ascent into the public eye continued.
Cam Norrie’s sensational breakout year continued by winning the prestigious Indian Wells title
He beat Nikoloz Basilashvili and pocketed a huge £880,000 as his ascent continued in the US
Norrie has never been beyond the third round of a Grand Slam but the Australian Open is just a few months away and he will be desperate to continue his sublime form in Melbourne.
The 26-year-old is hardly a new name on the scene but his low-key nature and steady rise up the rankings mean his profile is nothing like that of his fellow British No 1 Emma Raducanu.
Norrie’s background also probably has something to do with that.
Born in South Africa to British parents, the family moved to New Zealand when Norrie was just three after a robbery at their home.
They eventually settled in Auckland, where Norrie grew up. A talented runner, he played a number of sports as a child but showed early promise in tennis and as a junior was ranked in the world’s top 10.
The 26-year-old kisses girlfriend Louise Jacobi after his victory over Basilashvili in California
Born in South Africa to British parents, the family moved to New Zealand when Norrie was just three after a robbery at their home. Pictured: Dad David (left), mum Helen (second left) and sister Bronwen (right)
His British heritage placed him on the radar of the LTA and, feeling a lack of support from the New Zealand federation, Norrie made the decision to move to London aged 16, switching allegiance in 2013.
The change initially proved overwhelming, with Norrie saying back in 2017: ‘That was when I stopped enjoying tennis a little bit.
‘It was just too much. I was used to being in a normal school and then I came here and I was practising every day. I was staying at the National Tennis Centre and everything was about tennis.
‘At the time it didn’t feel the right move for my well-being and I wasn’t the happiest but I’m happy I moved. I think it’s almost impossible to play tennis based in New Zealand.’
The second key move in Norrie’s career came in 2014 when he took a scholarship to Texas Christian University in the United States and quickly established himself as a star performer on the prestigious college circuit.
Back in 2014, Norrie (right) took a scholarship at Texas Christian University in the United States
Norrie quickly established himself as a star performer on the prestigious college circuit
When he turned professional in 2017, he was the leading player in the system and ranked inside the world’s top 300 having taken the opportunity to play on the tour when he could.
Having persuaded his former Texas team-mate and coach Facundo Lugones from Argentina to go on the road with him, Norrie quickly thrived in his new environment.
Lacking an obvious weapon but known for his impressive physical endurance and strong mental approach, Norrie broke into the top 100 within a year of going pro.
He made one of the most impressive Davis Cup debuts of all time in February 2018 when he recovered from two sets down to defeat then world No 23 Roberto Bautista Agut on clay in Spain.
His Davis Cup debut was hugely impressive, beating Roberto Bautista Agut on clay in Spain
Norrie reached his first ATP final in Auckland in 2019 but his career has really took off in 2021
He reached his first ATP final in Auckland the following year but 2021 has been the season where Norrie has established himself at the very top of the game.
His heavy topspin forehand, which contrasts with a very flat two-handed backhand, has become a real weapon and with each victory Norrie’s confidence at the crunch moments of matches has grown.
The statistics show what a remarkable season it has been.
The 26-year-old, who continues to work with Lugones, has reached five finals on three different surfaces, winning his first ATP title in Mexico in July.
A key reason for Norrie’s extraordinary success are outrageous physical attributes that allow him to perform at levels that would kill the average human being.
The capacity of Norrie’s heart allows him to perform at levels that would kill the average human
After beating Schwartzman last week, Lugones revealed Norrie’s heart can sustain such high levels of physical exertion for long periods that it would be dangerous to a normal person.
‘At the Battle of the Brits last year they were playing with a Catapult (a vest that measure physiological performance),’ said Lugones.
‘They were monitoring Cam’s heart rate and I remember Matt Little [Andy Murray’s fitness trainer] told us that after one of the matches against Kyle Edmund he was in the red zone for eight straight minutes, which is almost impossible.
‘A normal person would die after two minutes in the red zone, which is like 180 to 200 bpm.
‘Cam was running a lot with his mum back in Auckland. He is just an animal in that department. He can endure anything: long distance and long matches.’
Living in Putney in southwest London, Norrie has been with Louise Jacobi for at least two years
Jacobi is the founder and creative director for interior design studio Please Don’t Touch
Living in the affluent, highly sought-after area of Putney in southwest London, Norrie has been dating girlfriend Louise Jacobi for at least two years.
Jacobi is the founder and creative director for interior and textile design studio Please Don’t Touch, based in Brooklyn.
They regularly travel the globe together as Norrie moves around the tennis circuit and frequently post pictures of themselves together on Instagram.
Jacobi was at Indian Wells to see Norrie win on Sunday night and the pair shared a kiss in the stands as he celebrated his victory.
After Indian Wells he now plans to play a full hand of indoor European events in the chase for a spot at the elite eight-man ATP Finals.
Following that the season finally wraps up with the Davis Cup finals week, starting in Innsbruck and leading to Madrid.
Norrie’s 46 wins this season put him ahead of Novak Djokovic and his run in Indian Wells means he is firmly in the picture to qualify for the prestigious ATP Finals.
That will now be held in Turin, with the tournament’s long stay in London ending last year, but Britain’s new leading man has shown he is ready to excel on every stage.
Norrie is yet to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam with the Australian Open on the horizon