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Norrie on ATP Finals battle: “I’m still a long shot but it’s cool I’m still in the conversation”

The Briton is chasing one of the remaining two places in Turin, having begun the year ranked No 74

Cameron Norrie R1 Paris Masters 2021 Aurelien Morissard / Panoramic

At the start of 2021, Britain’s Cameron Norrie was ranked 74, hoping to get himself up the rankings and show people how good he thought he could be.

But surely even the Briton could not have envisaged a year in which he has won a Masters 1000 title (in Indian Wells) and with two counting weeks to go, is pushing for a place in the season-ending ATP Finals.

The 26-year-old would pinch one of the two remaining spots in the eight-man event should he win the title at the Rolex Paris Masters and though there is a long way to go, he began in impressive fashion with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Federico Delbonis of Argentina on Monday.

Norrie sits 11th in the ATP Race to Turin, but with ninth-placed Rafael Nadal out for the rest of the season, the battle is still on to snatch a spot in Italy.

“I know who is in the race, I know who I’m competing against, I’m looking at how they are doing,” Norrie told reporters on Monday. “I think it’s very interesting to me, and I think it’s cool to have this added pressure of playing for an extra event at the end of the year.

“All of us in the contest for it right now have not made this event before. So it’s all very special for us, and it’s a great opportunity, but I’m keeping my head down in terms of focusing on what I have to do in terms of getting ready for my matches and my practices, and I’m playing great in the practices and really enjoying my tennis still and I’m feeling good physically.

“I’m doing what I can. I know it’s a long shot for me to make the event. I’m quite far behind, so I’ve got a lot of work to do, but luckily there’s a lot of tennis left to be played. It’s cool that I’m in the conversation this late in the year.”

Cameron Norrie R1 Paris Masters 2021
Aurelien Morissard / Panoramic

Norrie will play Reilly Opelka or Filip Krajinovic in the second round in Paris, while world No 1 Novak Djokovic could be waiting in the quarter-finals, with fifth seed Andrey Rublev to overcome before that.

Norrie said he is thriving on the situation.

“It’s great,” he said. “I like the fact there is added pressure. The matches seem bigger and I think it’s cool and everyone is keeping on it. I have heard it’s such a special event, the Tour Finals, and they have done a great job in London from what I have watched, so it would be great to be part of it.

“If not, I have had a phenomenal season, in my opinion, so I leave the year feeling great about my level and how things went but it will be a bonus to make it, as well.”

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