Cameron Norrie walked off Centre Court at Wimbledon on Friday having lost to Novak Djokovic in his first major semi-final. Although the Briton has plenty to be proud of after a memorable fortnight, the experience has left him hungry for more.
“Great experience. I can take a lot of confidence from it. To reach the semis, reach the Friday of the second week, is pretty sick. But I think for me, I want to go [for] more and I want to do more of that and go one further and try to win a Slam,” Norrie said.
“A lot of firsts for me this week, a lot of good experiences. Hopefully I can take them in my stride. I think looking, comparing to Novak, I think it was just the level of execution from him today was better than me. His level of focus, the way he handled his service games was better than me. That was the difference.”
For a moment, it seemed Norrie was in good position to push for his first major final after storming through the first set 6-2. But Djokovic rebounded with devastating form through the rest of the match to triumph after two hours and 35 minutes.
“I think I played okay. I just made a lot of returns. I hit the spots well on my serve. Like I said, it was the biggest match of my career. I think it was a six out of 10 set. I think I was running a lot, put a lot of balls in the court,” Norrie said. “I felt like he was a bit nervous. He wasn’t serving as well as I’ve seen him serve. I was winning all the rallies and winning all the longer points. It was a solid set.
“I knew that I had to keep raising the level to have a chance. A semi-final, my first Grand Slam, when you take the set 6-2, you take that. Yeah, it was a good start, but it wasn’t enough.”
Djokovic Ends Norrie’s Run, Reaches Wimbledon Final
Before this edition of Wimbledon, Norrie had never advanced past the third round at a major. But having lifted his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy last year at Indian Wells and competed in the Nitto ATP Finals, the lefty was ready for the moment.
“Coming in here and kind of getting through the draw in the fashion that I did, handling the occasions of playing Centre Court, playing Court 1, playing guys that I’m actually [favoured] to beat, being in situations in fourth rounds, quarters, where I’m actually going in favoured, it’s not easy,” Norrie said. “It’s always nice going into those matches being the underdog and you’ve got nothing to lose.
“For me, I went out there and there was a lot of pressure on me to win. I had good chances to win. So for me to come out and serve out sets, serve out matches, and have the nerve to do that, to have the level of focus, just overall it was a lot of fun doing that.”
One of the best parts of the experience for Norrie was having the British fans behind him. The 26-year-old was the last British singles player remaining, and they tried to help push him all the way.
“Everyone got behind me. The atmosphere was incredible. Especially serving that game out against [David] Goffin to make my first semi-final was pretty crazy,” Norrie said. “I think it’s all happened very quickly. I’m going to have a lot of time to reflect on everything. But it’s tough right now to think about it too much. Obviously just getting knocked out.
A lot of good learning for me.”