MIKE DICKSON: Super-fit Cameron Norrie’s extreme training ‘could KILL’ an ordinary person… and with a settled team and long-term girlfriend supporting him, the British No 1 CAN stun Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon semi-final
- Cameron Norrie puts himself through some of the most gruelling work on tour
- Extreme fitness will stand him in good stead for Novak Djokovic clash
- Norrie can play six or seven minutes of tennis with a heartrate of 200, says coach
- Another secret to British No 1’s success is real stability on and off the court
Agonising minutes spent practising while in the heartbeat ‘red zone’ helped Cam Norrie come through a dramatic deciding set to reach Wimbledon’s semi-finals.
The British No 1 is put through beastings by his team that are so intense they could kill an ordinary person, according to his long-time coach.
Norrie will face Novak Djokovic on Friday, with his parents David and Helen needing to extend their stay and having to leave their hotel due to the arrival of the Danish women’s football team.
Cameron Norrie’s (second from right) extreme fitness will help him against Novak Djokovic and his coach Facundo Lagones (right) puts him through intense sessions
Norrie knows it could be a long afternoon against Djokovic in the semi-final at SW19
The brilliant Serbian star lies in wait for the British No 1 in the Wimbledon semi-final
Such minor inconveniences have come about in part due their son’s fanaticism for fitness, which saw him finish so strongly on Tuesday against Belgium’s David Goffin.
According to coach Facundo Lagones, his player can withstand six or seven minutes playing tennis with his heart going at 200 beats per minute.
‘He does a lot of fitness, probably more than anyone. It would be hard to beat how many hours Cam does,’ said Lagones, an Argentine who first met Norrie while he was working at Texas Christian University.
‘There are some really intense conditioning sessions on court where he stays in that red zone where the heartbeat is just insane. He’s still able to execute and play tennis at a decent level when he is in that state.
‘He can stay on that for six, seven minutes, no problem. A normal person can’t even do a minute and a half on that. They could probably, I don’t know, die. Would be close to passing out.
Norrie, who is Britain’s last remaining hope in the singles, has roaring support
‘That’s why in the fifth set he looked actually more comfortable than at the beginning of the match.’
Norrie is the opposite to Emma Raducanu, in that he prefers to have a settled team around him long-term.
Lagones believes that the consistency of Norrie’s environment is a key factor in him achieving more than people thought he would when he turned pro.
He said: ‘His fitness trainer has been with us for three years, the physio close to four years. For him it’s important to have people he can trust with anything. It gives him a lot of consistency.’
It extends to Norrie’s long-term relationship with girlfriend Louise Jacobi, a New York-based textile designer. ‘I think she had a really good impact on him, especially off the court, just keeping things the same, keeping him happy, made him mature a lot and grow as a person. That shows in his career as well,’ said Lagones.
Norrie kept hopes alive of a third home winner in the Wimbledon men’s singles in a decade
Norrie’s long-term relationship with girlfriend Louise Jacobi is a stabilising influence
Another secret of his success, which is well-hidden beneath his placid nature, is an obsessive competitive streak.
‘He plays a lot of games with his trainer Vasek Jursik,’ Lagones said. ‘They play card games, Backgammon, Ludo. Playing always for coffees. They compete and they keep track of the coffees they owe to each other. Cam can’t unwind from competition.’
While, for many, Norrie has burst into the public consciousness with his run at Wimbledon, it is not something out of the blue. Already this year he has won ATP Tour titles in Florida and Lyon. The latter was a rare occasion when he became aggravated on court.
‘I think in Lyon a couple times he was really stressed. But, again, he was able to snap out of it and get back to what he was doing,’ said Lagones. ‘But I think the key is to be able to get it back quickly and not let that carry over.’
Whether this will be enough to beat Djokovic over five sets is very different question. If it does get into a decider, the Serb will find Norrie a different proposition to Jannik Sinner, who he beat over the full distance in the quarter-finals.