British star Cameron Norrie set to face off with Roger Federer
They say that in sport you want to be tested, to come up against the very best. After all, if you want to win something of note, you need to come through the challenges that exist in front of you. When it comes to tennis, that challenge often comes in the form of an experienced, veteran title-winner. For British hotshot Cameron Norrie, carrying the hopes of the UK now that Andy Murray is declining (though still playing strong), that challenge will take the shape of Roger Federer.
The Englishman will take on the hugely successful Swiss in the next round. Federer came through a tough tie with Richard Gasquet, with the 39-year-old Swiss overcoming his 35-year-old rival in a 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 6-4 win. It was another win in a long and one-sided rivalry, with Federer holding a whopping 19-2 record over the Frenchman. At 39, Federer might be playing one of the last of the Grand Slam tournaments of his life. If he wants to get to the final, he’ll need to overcome the highly impressive and energetic Norrie.
For his part, Norrie broke through into the Las 32 with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win over Alex Bolt. The wildcard from Australia competed, but was soon overwhelmed by the intensity of the Englishman’s play. Federer, too, has welcomed the chance to play against the highly rated Briton who will surely be cheered on by a local crowd.
What did Federer say about facing Norrie?
After dispatching Gasquet, Federer was asked his view on playing against Norrie in the match-up to come. After the match finished, he said: “I hope the crowd gets into it. I understand if they cheer for him and if it is for me it is because of the last 20 years and all the big wins I’ve had here.
“Cam is a good guy, he’s had a wonderful year and played great at Queen’s, backing that up here.”
However, the ever-competitive Swiss was quick to make sure that the crowd knew he would be taking the tie very seriously. After praising Norrie’s season so far, he chimed in with a finishing riposte, adding: “But enough now – he needs to go out! I need to go through.”
Norrie, 25, looks to be in a good position to actually try and tackle the legend. With a home crowd behind him and an excellent season so far, this is arguably the best form that Norrie has been in. he even overcame a few challenging moments against Bolt, losing the first three games before coming back to roar into an 11-game win streak, turning the tide of the tie entirely.
A highly committed professional, Norrie will know he is facing a tactically astute, technically perfect legend of the game. With a near 15-year age gap between the duo, though, Norrie must feel confident that he can do some damage in a highly anticipated tie. For Federer, this feels like a late chance in his career to grab yet another Grand Slam.