Cameron Norrie links up with coach Stephen Huss in bid to rediscover form

By Sports Desk December 01, 2023

Cameron Norrie has added a new coach to his team as he bids to regain form in 2024.

Australian Stephen Huss, who won the Wimbledon men’s doubles title with Wesley Moodie in 2005, will work alongside Norrie’s main coach Facundo Lugones.

The British number one struggled over the second half of the season, losing 12 of his 16 matches following a second-round exit at Wimbledon.

Norrie told the PA news agency: “It should be good. I’m doing 10 to 12 weeks with him, more the practice weeks, to help me, to help Facu and just to keep things fresh and to have a different eye.

“I don’t know him too well but I’ve heard a lot of good things about him, and I think he’ll be really good for the team in general.”

Norrie has worked with Argentinian Lugones, who he met while studying at Texas Christian University, for his entire professional career.

He has also had help from experienced Lawn Tennis Association coach James Trotman, who now works with Jack Draper, and his former TCU coach Devin Bowen but has decided to bring in someone permanent.

“It was kind of both of our idea but more so Facu,” said Norrie. “I think it’s key to keep it fresh with your coach. I travel so much with Facu. We’ve never had any issue with that but I think it’s good to have someone else.

“I had that already, I had James Trotman from the LTA and Devin Bowen still helping me, still doing weeks, but they couldn’t really give it enough time for me. I was asking a lot all the time, try to do weeks with Devin at TCU and having him fly but he’s busy with the school and then Trotters with Jack.

“So it was difficult but it should be good to have someone else. It doesn’t really change too much with Facu, he’s still going to do a lot of weeks and he still wants to come to every tournament, which is great to have such a driven coach like that.”

Norrie, meanwhile, is getting ready to begin his pre-season training this weekend by hiking into the snowy French mountains and staying in a campervan.

The 28-year-old, who is an ambassador for Lexus and drives the RZ electric car, admits he will be well outside his comfort zone but is looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re going with my fitness trainer and we’re going up this mountain, sleep in his camper,” said Norrie, who is based in Monte-Carlo.

“One night, then the next day we have this big hike in the snow. He wants to test me a little bit. I’ve never really seen the mountains there.

“I love walking but I’ve not done a really long hike before. I bought some new shoes this week to get ready for that. We looked at the weather and it was minus 12 so I’ve got a big jacket as well. We’re bringing some food, some tea, play some cards. It should be good.

“I think it’s his idea to just change my mind, maybe leave the phone and just go and be in nature, see the mountains. He tells me it’s not the easiest hike. Hopefully no injuries. Then Monday he’s killing me in the gym.”

Norrie will kick-off the new season at the United Cup in Australia beginning on December 29.

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    The British number one won last year’s tournament in Brazil and his path to repeating his glory opened up earlier in the week when top seed Carlos Alcaraz withdrew because of injury.

    And he made light work of Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera on the clay, dropping just two games in a 6-1 6-1 victory.

    Barrios Vera, ranked 120 in the world, was no match for the Norrie, who overcame an early exchange of breaks to reel off four successive games and win the first set.

    Another run of four games on the spin was enough to get the job done with little fuss to set up a quarter-final meeting with Thiago Seyboth Wild.

    “I really played well and was accurate, I hit the lines and was able to control the games,” Norrie said on Sky Sports.

    “I enjoyed it, last night waiting around, it rained a lot and I had to come out and reset and I was able to do that so I was really pleased.

    “I am going to keep focusing on myself and my level and I want to make sure I take care of my matches like that.

    “It’s tough, it’s humid, there’s been a lot of rain and the clay is heavy. It’s not easy out here but I feel like I can play well when the matches go long.”

  • Krajicek hopes Alcaraz does not simply try to emulate Nadal Krajicek hopes Alcaraz does not simply try to emulate Nadal

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    Alcaraz is being hailed as Spanish tennis' next big hope with Nadal nearing the end of a hugely decorated career, one that has seen him win 22 grand slam titles, two behind Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

    Alcaraz himself has claimed two grand slams at the age of 20, winning the US Open in 2022 before following it up by claiming Wimbledon glory the following year.

    Despite the comparisons, Krajicek hopes Alcaraz doesn't think too much about comparing himself with his countryman Nadal.

    "If he starts to think about it or live up to it or try to beat it, then it will hinder his career, I think, a little bit," said Krajicek, speaking to Stats Perform at the Rotterdam Open. "But no, his name is Carlos Alcaraz. He said it himself. And he's not a new Nadal.

    "Nadal is a legend. And he's going to do what he has to do. And I think by winning two grand slams, being number one, I don't think he [Alcaraz] feels any pressure or like, I have to do this or this.

    "He's proved so much already. I don't think he has too much to prove. And he's just playing for the love of the game. He's going to win many more grand slams and be number one for many weeks also."

    Krajicek thinks Alcaraz's all-round game has the potential to take him to the top, if he hasn't reached it already.

    "I like everything about his game," Krajicek added. "I mean he's physically good, he's fast, I love his mentality on the court."

    "Also like Rafa, [he is] a very humble person and he can do it all. He can play serve and volley, he plays from the base, he's got a big forehand, he's got a very good touch on the drop shot, he can volley."

    Krajicek pointed to Alcaraz's affection for the sport of tennis as a particularly infectious part of his game.

    "He really loves the game," Krajicek continued. 

    "I think when he played the US Open, there was a huge point in the final and it was a really important point. And they were playing for number one in the world.

    "It was one set all, and Alcaraz loses the point, but the point was unbelievable. And Alcaraz smiles to his box like, 'Wow, I just played a great point, and I love this game'.

    "So for me, then I became a fan. I'm like, 'Wow, you really love this game'. That's so great to see."

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    It is only a "matter of time" until Carlos Alcaraz is the number one tennis player in the world, according to Richard Krajicek.

    At the age of 20, Alcaraz has already won Wimbledon and the US Open, becoming world number one in September 2022.

    He was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to kick off this year's grand slams, though, failing to win any of the three tournaments in which he has played in 2024.

    However, former world number four Krajicek believes Alcaraz is on his way to becoming the best, despite dropping to number two in the world rankings.

    "His potential is very high," Krajicek told Stats Perform. "I think he's the future number one.

    "I'm not saying anything special because he's beaten everybody. He beat Djokovic three times out of the last four times they played. He beat Medvedev from being two sets to love down, which shows how mentally and physically strong he is.

    "So for me, it's a matter of time until he becomes number one. I think he can play on all surfaces, maybe clay is his worst surface but all the other surfaces you would say he's a title contender."

    With the 'Big Three' of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic already retired or nearing the end of their storied careers, there's been much discussion over who will fill their boots.

    Alcaraz has already proved his abilities, while 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner claimed Australian Open glory to kick off this year having reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2023.

    Krajicek feels those two will lead the way for the next era of men's tennis, saying: "It's difficult to say who the next generation will be, but I think Alcaraz and Sinner will have a good rivalry. They already have played unbelievable matches.

    "Of course, Alcaraz has already been number one, won two Grand Slams. Sinner is now slowly coming also to that level. He is number four, maybe number three after this week."

    However, Krajicek has reservations over whether the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner can reach the legendary status of the 'Big Three'.

    "To really have the same kind of rivalry, I don't know if that's possible," Krajicek added. "I mean, together, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic won 66 Grand Slams. That's incredible. In every Grand Slam, they were in the final or winning. It's just amazing.

    "I don't know if it's possible to have two players or three players that basically win every Grand Slam they play. But I believe those two are going to be the two biggest names for the next couple years."

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