Emma Raducanu is a name that will live in the minds of British tennis for years to come. A tennis player who was able to defeat all the odds and win a Grand Slam on her second try AND as a qualifier ranked 150th in the world, she reached a feat not achieved by any male or female player in the Open Era. With her victory in the US Open came a sway of media attention. She won Sports Personality of the Year, propelled to a top 20 rank, and established herself as a mainstay on the WTA tour. There is little doubt that Raducanu will become one of the greatest British tennis players of all time, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Fred Perry and Andy Murray.

Raducanu’s rise has overshadowed the rise of an equally talented player on the male tour: Cameron “Cam” Norrie. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1995 to a Scottish father and a Welsh mother, Norrie moved to New Zealand and picked up a racket at a young age, ending up at the Texan Christian University in Fort Worth in 2014. Discovering a talent for tennis and spurred on a by positive junior results (ranked in the top 10 juniors), Norrie dropped his studies at TCU to become professional during the grass court season of the 2017 ATP Tour, just as fellow compatriot Andy Murray was reaching the height of his career.

What’s so special about Norrie to warrant a comparison to Raducanu? I’ll tell you: the last twelve months has been, in my view, one of the greatest for any player since the first appearance of Roger Federer over twenty years ago. At the start of the 2021 season, Norrie was ranked 71st in the world, but would end the season ranked 12th, a meteoric rise of 59 places – a feat that some players only achieve in a couple of years, let alone one.  Norrie entered the season in a steady position. His rank enabled him to enter Grand Slams and ATP Masters 1000 / 500 events without having to go through grueling qualification. He was also coming of his best Grand Slam result at the 2020 US open, where he beat 5th seed Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the first round of the tournament; he would eventually fall to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the 3rd round. The hard-court season was nothing special for Norrie, who was able to hold onto his ranking position and continued to achieve average results for a player of his rank.

The Clay and Grass court season was where it would all change for Norrie. At the Estoril Open in Portugal, Norrie was able to reach his first ATP final of his career. He followed this up by reaching the final of the Lyon Open – in the process beating World Number 4, two-time French Open finalist, and 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem in the second round, and former world top ten player Russian Karen Khachanov. Norrie’s run would be ended by world number 4, Stefanos Tsitsipas 6 – 3 6 – 3 in the final. In May, Norrie reached the 3rd round of the French open, being beaten by the King of Clay himself Rafael Nadal. The Queen’s Club Championships, seen as a warmup for the famous Wimbledon and previously dominated by Andy Murray, was where Norrie would come to national prominence. Norrie reached his third final in two months, beating two players in the top 30 (Aslan Karatsev and Denis Shapovalov) before being defeated in the final by top seat Matteo Berrettini. This run led to Norrie rising to No. 34 and allowed him to be seeded at Wimbledon. With a victory at Los Cabos following Wimbledon, Norrie entered the top 30 for the first time, giving him a comfortable position going into the summer.

Norrie’s greatest moment would come in October 2021 when he took part in the BNP Paribus Open / Indian Wells Masters. This tournament is seen as the most premier tournament outside of the four grand slams and is sometimes considered as the “fifth grand slam.” The 2021 edition of the tournament was no different; all but one (Novak Djokovic) of the top 10 players in the world participated in the tournament. Norrie was seeded 21st and took a surprising run to the final, beating American giant Tommy Paul, No. 20 player Diego Schwartzman, and former No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov. He reached the final and played against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. Norrie beat the Georgian 3 – 6 6 – 4 6 – 1 to claim the title, and this win propelled Norrie to No. 12 in the world and he became British No. 1. At the end of the year, Norrie was given a spot as an alternate in the ATP World Finals, a privilege only given to those in the top 8 players in the world. Norrie’s rise to the No. 12 rank was probably one of the biggest stories of the 2021 ATP season.

Where does Norrie go from here? Norrie has stayed steady in the high teens since his victory at Indian Wells. He has already reached two more finals, coming out as victorious in one (Delray Beach). To continue with this stability, Norrie must make sure he has a sustainable number of points to keep him at a high rank. Players in the past have risen to a high ranking but have been unable to sustain it and have dropped back in obscurity (e.g. Kyle Edmund). Continued participation in Grand Slams and Tour events should supplement this. With his rank, he is now able to get into ATP 1000 events and Grand Slams seeded. However, his biggest challenge will be to defend his Indian Wells title, and with the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev eying up the prize, Norrie will have his toughest challenge on his hands.

While not as famous or popular as Andy Murray, Johanna Konta or Emma Raducanu, Cam Norrie has already left his print on British tennis for the years ahead. At a young age of just 27, Norrie still has a decade of professional tennis ahead of him. While tennis is unpredictable, one thing is for sure: Cameron Norrie has established himself on the tennis scene.