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At the beginning of 2023, predicting the season of Cam Norrie might have been one of the hardest tasks in tennis. Would he plateau? Or would he make advancements?

The questions seemed to be answered in his opening two events of January as the Brit went undefeated at the United Cup with wins over Rafael Nadal, Alex de Minaur and Taylor Fritz before enjoying a run to the Auckland final where he fell in an epic contest to French veteran Richard Gasquet in the decider.

His run to the third round at the Australian Open seemed comfortable, that was until he was matched against young Czech Jiri Lehecka, who accounted for the South African born seed in a five-set thriller to end Norrie’s hopes in an unexpected exit.

Despite winning a title on clay in Lyon last year, three of the 27-year-old’s four ATP trophies had come on hard courts, making his decision to play South America’s golden swing a puzzler to fans and pundits across the globe.

Norrie was able silence any doubt in his first tournament, progressing to the final of Buenos Aires where he would run into the freight train that is Carlos Alcaraz, falling 6-3 7-5 to mark the Spaniard’s return to the tour after three months off the court.

Yes it was a loss, but it was a final, and it could very easily have turned out to be a disaster in the second round as Norrie trailed Argentina’s Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 3-5 before emerging victorious a minute shy of three hours.

With doubt silenced, he ventured to Rio’s ATP 500 as the second seed and knocked over Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Thiago Monteiro in straight sets before edging Hugo Dellien and Bernabe Zapata Miralles in three-set battles to set up yet another clash with Alcaraz.

Down a set and 0-3 with Alcaraz holing 0-30 on Norrie’s service game, all looked lost.

But the Spaniard started to wilt with injury taking over, allowing the Brit to force his way back into the contest and take it to a decider.

Alcaraz went all out attack, going for winners left, right and centre, causing Norrie to defend for his life and wait for an opportunity, which eventually came as he broke at 5-5 in the third before serving it out to claim the second biggest title of his career.

To that point, he had only fallen in three matches this season and headed to Indian Wells brimming with confidence, and for good reason considering he won his maiden Masters 1000 title in the Coachella Valley.

The campaign was promising too, as Norrie steamrolled past an in-form Andrey Rublev to reach the quarterfinals on courts that were slower than usual, playing into his hands somewhat having just been on the South American clay.

Ultimately Frances Tiafoe would end his bid for a second title in the desert before being sensationally swept aside by Frenchman Gregoire Barrere in his opening round of Miami.

The early exit in Florida does not detract what he has achieved over the course of the past year, which includes a Wimbledon semifinal and reaching a career high ranking of No.8.

Funnily, if he was awarded his ranking points for his run at the All England Club last year the London resident would be sitting at around that same ranking, which is fitting for the form that he is in.

He already looks poised for a place in Turin for the ATP Finals at the end of the year, currently in eighth but looking as consistent as ever.

With the European clay court season nigh, Norrie has shown that he has what it takes on the red dirt and might just be able to push deep into some of the marquee events in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome and Barcelona that all culminate in the big for the Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros.

If not there, there is no reason why he won’t go into his home major of Wimbledon as one of the favourites.


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