The Road Less Traveled: Cameron Norrie
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For most professional tennis players, the sport is a way for an athlete to see the world. But for Cameron Norrie, the ATP World Tour has been more of a place to call home.
Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and living in the United Kingdom during his teenage years, Norrie did a fair amount of travelling as a young man. And in a sport like tennis, where there is a pressure to turn pro and earn as a teenager, Norrie held college as a more important short term goal.
Since concluding his collegiate career in 2017, Norrie has progressed from playing NCAA Tennis in the Big 12 conference to playing ATP World Tour events across five continents. With his days at Texas Christian University now behind him, Norrie looks back fondly on his college days and the newfound appreciation college gave him for the sport of tennis.
“When I was living in London, I decided to go to college, and I wasn’t really enjoying my tennis that much. It was becoming more nonstop, when I wanted a more balanced life. So I started visiting colleges, and I liked TCU the most mainly due to the coaches, David Roditi and Devin Bowen. It was a great three years there developing my game in a competitive atmosphere with the whole team there to help you.”
Norrie’s collegiate career offered him a different experience then many of his ATP counterparts, and he feels the college experience has given him a unique perspective.
“My college highlight was when they had this masters, it was actually the first year they did it, up at the Malibu Racquet Club, and the final was broadcast on Tennis Channel. I ended up winning, and it was just sick exposure for my tennis. After I won that, I was playing well, and I knew that I wanted to play tennis for a living. That was the fall of my sophomore year, and it was ridiculous experience. It was good to have that happen at the college level, some exposure on TV and dealing with those pressures. So I think that set me up well for the tour.”
With his college experience playing an integral part of his life, Norrie reflected on how difficult it was to end his college career and embark on a journey into the ATP World Tour.
“It was pretty tough actually, I was used to traveling with my team and having everything mapped out for me. I’m still getting used to it. It’s pretty tough and it can get lonely traveling by yourself every week, but I can’t complain too much.”
Norrie’s levelheaded perspective on his career thus far has enabled him to look back fondly on his biggest accomplishment, a main draw victory at the 2017 US Open.
“At the US Open last year, I managed to qualify and win a round, and I just took a step back after that and was like, wow, like I’m beating good players and I’m playing at a high level and I’m just enjoying it and enjoying the process.”
Although Norrie has achieved a significant amount of success for a player his age, his proudest moment has been representing Britain at their 2018 Davis Cup match in Spain.
“I couldn’t actually believe that I was (at the Davis Cup), just before I was about to play for my country and it’s such an honor to play for my country. So I never thought I’d get to that point in my career. And especially playing Spain away and making my debut, I just wanted to leave everything on the court. It felt a little bit like a college match with 20 times more atmosphere. It was a great chance for the British population and the fans of tennis to get to know me a little bit, and it got my name out there. It was just a ridiculous experience.”
With Norrie’s unlikely path taking him to four continents and college prior to joining the ATP World Tour, he understands and appreciates the rarity of the opportunity that has come his way.
“it’s a pretty nice lifestyle and I’ve come across some great people. I’m living my dream, it’s a good life, I can’t complain.”