World No. 12 Cameron Norrie, who made his debut at the 2021 ATP Finals after filling in for World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas as the second alternate, had a sensational debut at the Year-End Championships. Despite losing to Casper Ruud, he had the Norwegian on the backfoot who eventually won the match 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Norrie.
Norrie had narrowly missed out on a spot to play in the tournament directly but with the subsequent withdrawals of Matteo Berrettini and then Tsitsipas after the first round-robin matches were done, Norrie was able to make his debut this year itself. With a defeat to Ruud, he will now play against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in what will be their first-ever meeting on the Tour.
“I am impatient. I never played against Novak, I never trained with him. So it will be a big first for me and I’m not sure I’ve already played a world number 1. I can not wait to be there. I watched him the other day and he plays really well. I watched it today (Wednesday) and it blew upon it,” said Norrie on the prospect of facing Djokovic.
Cameron Norrie out of the race to qualify for the semis
Had Norrie won his match against Ruud, he would have had an outside chance to make it into the top-4 but a defeat ensured that the British No. 1 cannot go past the round-robin stage as the match between Ruud and Andrey Rublev will be a virtual quarter-final with the winner progressing ahead while the loser will be eliminated.
Nevertheless, Norrie is looking forward to the tie where he will be playing against a World No. 1 for the first time in his career. “He feels the ball really well and you can see that he is really good in these conditions because the court is still very fast with a little altitude. So it’s going to be tough, but I can’t wait to be there and it will be another test for me. I’m gonna go out there and see if I fit in and if I can compete with a guy like him. I just can’t wait to take on the challenge and face the world number 1,” added Cam.
Norrie and Djokovic will play in the final round-robin match of the tournament on Friday before the semi-finals begin on Saturday.