Wimbledon: 'We'll give Djokovic a set' – Cameron Norrie's college tennis coach predicts semi-final upset

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022

Cameron Norrie can thrive as an underdog against Novak Djokovic and cause a sensation in Friday's Wimbledon semi-final, according to a former coach of the British star.

Ninth seed Norrie has battled through to a showdown with 20-time grand slam winner Djokovic, who had to come from two sets adrift to beat Jannik Sinner at the last-eight stage.

Their clash will be first on Centre Court on Friday, with Norrie bidding to follow in the recent footsteps of Andy Murray, Britain's last men's singles champion at the All England Club.

Djokovic is riding a 26-match unbeaten run at Wimbledon into the match, as the top seed bids to move a step closer to a fourth consecutive title at the tournament.

Yet the lower-ranked man can win, and he could even do it with a set to spare, according to Mexican David Roditi, head coach of the Texas Christian University's tennis team, with whom Norrie honed his talent as a youngster.

As well as studying sociology, Norrie's sports scholarship centred on playing for the Horned Frogs team. He spent three years at the university before leaving in 2017 to embark on a professional tennis career.

Roditi told Stats Perform he expects Norrie to thrive after his battling five-set win over David Goffin last time out.

"Obviously it's not easy to make Djokovic uncomfortable, not easy to beat him on grass," Roditi said. "What I will say is that this is finally the first time that Cameron gets to play as an underdog.

"I'm hoping that he's able to loosen up a little bit, be a little bit more aggressive, be able to go after him a little bit more than he was able to in the quarter-finals.

"I could feel he was not comfortable during that match [against Goffin]. He knew it was a great opportunity. So that underdog mentality has usually worked out well for Cameron. And I'm hoping that that's exactly what happens. And then once you get into the physicality of the game, and I think the longer this match goes, the better chances are for Cameron."

Looking at a prediction for the contest, Roditi said: "Oh, Cameron, it's got to be all Cameron. It's got to be him. So I'm saying Cameron in four sets? Wow. We'll give Djokovic a set. And well, then Cameron can win in four sets."

Roditi said there was "so much pride and so much excitement" being felt in Fort Worth at seeing Norrie grow into an elite performer on the world stage.

The 26-year-old won the Indian Wells Masters last year, the biggest achievement of his career until this fortnight.

Roditi says he always saw world-class potential in Norrie.

"There's no doubt he was head and shoulders above your typical 18-year-old coming in: extremely competitive, always willing to do the extra work physically," Roditi said. "He would go for long runs on his own, and so his endurance level is tremendous. It's great for him and his five-set matches – that showed in the quarter-finals.

"What I will say is that there was nothing he couldn't accomplish, [nothing] that we would ever be shocked or surprised [by]. He's always been able to defeat the odds and do more than anybody would expect of him.

"It's scary to think about what would happen if he wins this match. I think at this point anything's possible."

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