Cameron Norrie’s coach, Facundo Lugones, spoke to the press ahead of the Brit’s semi-final with Novak Djokovic
Lugones spoke about Norrie’s evolution as a tennis player since his college days as well as his improved temperament and fitness
LONDON, ENGLAND – Cameron Norrie’s coach has spoken to the press about the Brit’s temperament, fitness and his improvement as a tennis player ahead of the British number one’s semi-final match against Novak Djokovic.
Cameron Norrie’s rise to British number one and up the world rankings has been a sight to behold for most fans with Norrie’s consistency and improvement seeing him be a top ten player. Now Norrie has translated that success into grand slam form as he reached his first grand slam semi-final after beating David Goffin in a five set thriller.
Norrie’s evolution has been one of hard work and improvement with all aspects of his game which is what the Brit’s coach Facundo Lugones spoke about during his press conference:
“I mean, his maturity, the way he goes about his business. It’s still improving all day. He’s really, really mature,” Lugones said when comparing the Norrie of now to the Norrie that was grinding in college.
“His tennis now is his priority number one, where before he had a lot of different things going on. Maybe tennis was really important, but it was not the only thing.”
When speaking about improvement there are so many aspects that are noticeable with the world number 12 and one of them is his temperament as Lugones referred to. The Argentinian admits that he has been really impressed with the Brit’s composure in the last couple of days and spoke about times when he has lost his cool this season:
“I think that was the biggest thing, the last couple days, how composed he was, how he was able to stay patient and deal with everything and just take it just like another match. I think that’s why he’s in the semis,” Lugones said.
“I think everyone does. But he works a lot on it. He learn from different experiences to stay patient and try to allow himself to find a level and stay calm in those moments. But, yeah, he can definitely lose it sometimes. He worked a lot on it. He’s having good results.
“I think in Lyon this year 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. Yeah, it’s impossible to go entire year without losing your temper sometimes. But I think the key is to be able to get it back quick and not let that carry over for a whole set or a whole match.”
That is something that a lot of players could learn from Norrie as the Brit’s improvement mentally has helped excel to the top of the sport. Baring that in mind does Lugones think Norrie’s rise to the game is being underestimated and undermined?
“No, no, you never want to sell Norrie short,” Lugones said.
“I don’t know. He doesn’t get the hype that other players get for similar results. But I don’t think he cares about that. If anything, it motivates him to do better and be in these moments more often. Makes him work extra harder and try to get to the situations more and more.
“Maybe he was underestimated, but we don’t really care. Doesn’t really matter what people say or think. At the end of the day, the results are what matter.”
Another thing responsible for the evolution of Norrie’s game is the Brit’s fitness which has been evident at this year’s Wimbledon having played two five set matches. Lugones told the press that the amount of hours Norrie puts into his conditioning and fitness is ‘hard to beat’ on the tour:
“Yeah, he does a lot of fitness, probably more than anyone,” Lugones proudly said.
“I don’t even know how much other players do, but it would be hard to beat how many hours Cam does, especially when he’s fitness training with Vasek, do some really intense conditioning sessions on the court where he stays in that red zone where the heartbeat is just insane.
“He stays in that area for long periods of time. He’s still able to execute and manages to play tennis at a decent level when he’s in that state. Yeah, that’s why in the fifth set he looked actually more comfortable than at the beginning of the match.”
When told to elaborate on the red zone, Lugones said that he can reach 200BPM’s and a normal person would be lucky to reach 90 seconds in that zone and could even pass out:
“Just really, really high. And he can stay on that for six, seven minutes, no problem. I think a normal person can’t even do a minute and a half on that. Can probably, I don’t know, die. Would be close to passing out. He can play tennis for eight, nine minutes on that.”
Another sign of the lengths Norrie’s willing to go to achieve his dreams in tennis and become one of the best players in the world.
Finally Lugones spoke about the evolution of both the Norrie backhand and forehand. The backhand is one of the most unique shots on tour as the Brit takes an unusual swing at the ball, keeping it low to ensure easy unforced errors from the opposition. While the forehand is one of the Brit’s most improved shots and has seen him outpower his opponents from both sides.
Starting with the backhand Lugones said it allows Norrie to hit with more variety from the baseline but wasn’t something that he added or changed to his game:
“Well, that’s probably one of the keys, that it’s so different than everyone else’s backhand. It’s also coming from the deuce side as a lefty. A lot of players can hit it like that, but most of them are righty,” the Argentinian claimed.
“When you have that shot going to the forehand, you can rush them, keep the ball really low and hard, it’s really uncomfortable for most players because they’re not used to. I think it’s just Cam and Mannarino that hit the backhand like that. There’s only two guys on the whole tour who can do it.
“Yeah, now it’s a little bit more variety. He uses the backhand line a lot more. He can use the slice. Before it was just his backhand cross, now he add a little different things to it to give him some variety.
“I didn’t touch anything technically on his backhand. It was always like this. A little bit more his footwork, what he wants to do with it maybe, the mindset, how to use the backhand in different situations.”
Just like Lugones mentioned with playing the backhand tactically, improving the forehand was all about mindset. The Argentinian wanted the British number one to be more proactive and take the match to his opponents which is what Norrie has started to do recently:
“Yeah, his forehand and maybe his serve I think are the most improved shots,” Lugones said.
“His forehand, I always thought he could have a better forehand, be more aggressive, be more proactive, look to win a lot of points with it. When he has that mindset, his forehand is really good. He can have any forehand: the flat one, the heavy, the cross angle, down the line. I think, yeah, that was probably his biggest tennis improvement, was his forehand.
“We worked so much on it. His mindset also changed and gave him confidence that he could have a top forehand.”
Norrie will look to show how improved his backhand and forehand has become when he takes on Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of Wimbledon on Friday afternoon.
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