MyTennisHQ Interviews: Cameron Norrie
- School: TCU (Texas Christian University)
- Years: 2014-2017 (turned pro after junior year)
- Current Job: Professional tennis player, ranked #77 in the world in singles (April 3rd 2020).
Born in August 23rd 1995 in South Africa. Son of a Welsh mother, Helen, and Scottish Father, David, Cameron Norrie is one of the most successful professional tennis players to come out of college tennis in the last five years. The British star turned pro following his junior season (2017) at TCU and quickly moved up the ATP rankings. He broke top 100 in may of 2018 and hasn’t left it since.
Cam’s interview is one of the most candid ones we got so far as he provides great insight for players looking to go to college tennis. Hope you enjoy it!
7 Questions With Cam Norrie
#1 What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
My college selection process was an interesting one. In the summer of 13’ i was talking to head coach at the uni of Michigan. I went on a visit to Ann Arbor following the us open juniors, for an outrageously fun weekend. It was a huge weekend of football where the wolverines were taking on the fighting Irish (Notre Dame) One of the kids on the team was from Nzl who I knew previously and he definitely showed me the ins and outs of college life. More so on the social side. I got on well with the head coach (berque) who seemed mellow and the Assistant at the time Wurtzman was a work horse on the crt. A good combo. Michigan has a phenomenal business school and I was playing well enough to know for sure I’d play in the line up and potentially obtain a solid degree. I committed to Michigan shortly after my visit and was ready to go the following year starting in the fall.
The summer of 14’ before I was ready to go to school, the head coach at Michigan got fired (unknown reason) so I decided to rethink my decision and quickly took visits to South Carolina, TCU, OU, Tennessee and Baylor. My TCU visit was wonderful, this little private school in the middle of the country. I knew I was going to play a lot of outdoor tennis which looking back was a wise move. Immediately I got on well with head coach (Roditi), we had similar ways about us. The thing that stuck with me about TCU is everyone I met was genuine, especially Roditi. I was there on a random Sunday in the summer and ended up kicking it with a couple of dudes on the tennis and track team, who to this day are some of best mates. I got extremely lucky with the assistant coach (Bowen) who came in the same time as me, who solely shaped my tennis career, along with my teammate at the time (Lugones) who is now my coach & mentor. I committed and signed to TCU a week before school started, I was a horned frog.
#2 What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
I believe my favourite aspect about college is you are all in it together as a team. You get to work out, play tennis, compete, go out, all sharing the good and the bad together. My favourite moment was my freshman year, our team made the final four. It was all such a big deal to the seniors at the time and I could sense how proud everyone was. It was such a tightly knitted team. I was stoked for my roommate Guille who chopped everyone up the whole season only hitting slice backhands! We definitely had some good nights that year, and everyone had sense of Togetherness.
#3 How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
At college I just grew up a lot. Made mistakes that in the real world would have been costly but in college I had coaches and teammates around to help and we put each on the right path. In college you compete, I loved that environment and thrived with the competition. I learned to mentally dive deeper into having a pretty insane focus on the court. I am always trying to improve on. I’m currently playing pro right now.
#4 A lot of juniors and parents worry that tennis will suffer because of the academic demands of college. What advice would you give an 18-year old in terms of balancing academics and tennis?
For myself there was not too much stress in terms of managing tennis and academics. Just a little shock at the beginning to get organized and to get know how everything worked. In college everything is laid out for you, you just need to turn up and be present in classes and you’ll be fine. You almost get a high from ticking off all your daily routine. I would encourage picking a degree you find really interesting rather than picking business because it can make you the most money. I majored in sociology with a minor in business.
#5 Another thing we see parents worrying about is how the social component of college will affect their kids tennis. What would you tell an 18-year old going to college in regards to having fun without compromising their tennis/academics?
Enjoy the social side of college as much as you can. There’s only going to be 4 years of your life where you are going to be walking distance from your mates. Embrace that and you’ll be regretting you didn’t see your mates more often when you are finished. Work hard play hard mentality.
#6 Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
Honestly in my time at TCU, i had some regrets but everything was learning. I wish I had been a bit more interested in the academic side of things. When I was there I just wanted to practice, play matches and have a couple of beers with my roommates (Guille) (jerry) and chop them at fifa. One thing I did learn later on, I wish I had been more aggressive in bigger moments on the court. My freshman year I was passive during big points and definitely improved from there but I believe that the player that’s more aggressive usually comes out on top. This has been reinforced since becoming pro.
#7 In your case, why did you think that college tennis was a good option as opposed to going directly to the pro tour?
College tennis was one of the best decisions for me rather than turning pro right away. Firstly, mentally you get the chance to live a normal life doing what you like, meeting cool/likeminded people and traveling around the states competing against other schools. Everything is covered financially; you have this unique period of four years where education, tennis coaching, balls, stringing, accommodation and even food is all on the house. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get in shape, become more mature on and off the court and enjoy what any college has to offer.
Don’t worry f27 in Tulsa is not going anywhere. You have so much mental scarring from losing every other week in futures. Why not enjoy four years at college, become a beast physically and hit the tour running and raring to go. Ultimately very few turn pro, but that doesn’t mean, you can’t have a competitive and extremely enjoyable four years at college.