Wimby 22 ATP SF Split V2

Editor's Note: Nick Kyrgios received a walkover in the second men's semifinal following Rafael Nadal's withdrawal Thursday evening due to an abdominal tear.


Novak Djokovic vs. Cam Norrie

The small rise in the earth behind No. 1 Court at the All England Club has gone by many names: Henman Hill, Murray Mound, even Rusedski and Robson Ridge on occasion. How do we feel about Norrie Knoll? Its namesake isn’t sure.

“I don’t even know what a knoll is,” Norrie said on Tuesday. “I would say it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as Henman Hill.”

“[But] I’ll take it.”

Norrie, a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist and the last British singles player standing, has earned the love of the home crowd with his five wins during this fortnight. In standard Norrie style, he has been more opportunistic than overwhelming. The 26-year-old, a child of British parents who grew up in New Zealand, has faced just one seed, No. 30 Tommy Paul. But he did find his way past a former Top 10 player in David Goffin in five sets on Tuesday. Goffin came out firing, but the tactically versatile Norrie gradually found ways to defuse him.

Now he’ll take a quantum leap upward in competition. Norrie has played Djokovic once, at the ATP Finals last fall, and was soundly beaten, 6-2, 6-1. Ever the optimist, Norrie thinks that loss with help him on Friday.

“I think last time I played him in Turin in another big tournament, he played very good and I think I learnt a lot from that,” Norrie said. “I think I’m going to approach it a little bit differently tactically.”

“It’s going to be a tough one against Novak, obviously, but looking forward to the challenge. I think I’m going to take it to him.”

“I think I’m going to take it to him”: That’s the tennis equivalent of bulletin-board material.


WATCH: Highlights from Djokovic's five-set win over Sinner

Norrie’s strokes aren’t much to look at, but he’s good at keeping the ball in play, not making rash decisions, identifying weaknesses in his opponents, and maneuvering himself into winning positions. He also doesn’t cave mentally. There’s a dogged, David Ferrer-like quality to the way he never stops bouncing up and down as he waits to return serve.

Should Djokovic be worried? If he is, he’s doing a good job of hiding it.

“For him, not much to lose,” Djokovic says of Norrie. “Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that. But, you know, I practiced [with him a] few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course I will do my homework and get ready.”

As far as how he’ll handle the pro-Norrie Centre Court audience, Djokovic reminded reporters, rightly, that he’s been there before in that stadium.

“I know what to expect, in terms of crowd support, of course,” Djokovic said.

If it were any other player, you might suspect Djokovic of being overconfident, and possibly not being prepared. With him, it probably won’t matter. Winner: Djokovic


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