The heat and humidity at the BB&T Atlanta Open don’t phase Cameron Norrie, who played collegiate tennis at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, just outside Dallas, an area of the country known for its scorching temperatures almost as much as Atlanta. Norrie goes for his third quarter-final of the year on Thursday when he meets France’s Jeremy Chardy.
Earlier, Norrie shared the vital change his first coach made to his game and his first celebrity crush in another installment of “ATP Firsts”.
First moment I realised I loved tennis
I think I was quite young. I just always liked the aspect of competing. I think I like it even more [now] than I did when I was younger. There are just so many benefits to it, and it’s opened so many doors for me. I was able to go to college for free, and get a scholarship. And now it’s my job. I’m pretty grateful to play tennis for a living, and I love it. I keep loving it more and more.
Watch: Five Things To Know About Norrie
First coach and most important lesson he/she taught me
My first coach was Julia Sim. I played at the Bucklands Beach Tennis Club in New Zealand, and I actually started playing right-handed [for three, four months] so she switched me to left-handed. That was probably my most important advice… My forehand was horrendous because I did everything else left-handed. I wrote left-handed, so they just changed me, and from then on [I was 7], I played left-handed, and I was good.
First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
I had just started playing out of college [in 2017] and I was playing Monfils on centre court in Eastbourne, one of my first ATP tournaments. It was incredible. I was warming up, and I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to play him, because I loved watching him. I actually played well. I ended up losing but it was a good match. I was just like, ‘Wow I’m actually here playing against one of the best guys in the world’… I couldn’t wait to get out there, nervous but excited at the same time.
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First time I was recognised
In Paris, I was walking down the street. I had just played on centre court, Philippe-Chatrier, against [France’s Lucas] Pouille and two kids, one had a tennis bag, were like, ‘Are you Norrie?’ I was like, ‘Geez, how do you even know who I am?’… I got a photo with them.
First celebrity crush
I always liked Cameron Diaz, just because I have the same name as her… I always watched those action movies she’s in, “Charlie’s Angels”, with my sister.
I had a dog called Kyla, and he was a Border Collie. I still have two dogs, Tess (Golden Retriever) and Lulu (cross between Border Collie, Golden Retriever). They still live in New Zealand. I’m a real dog person, I love them so much. And I don’t get to see them. That’s one of the toughest things for me. I don’t get to see them at all because they’re in New Zealand, and I’m only going back to New Zealand in the summer time for me, which is December.