Less than 24 hours after the ugliness of the Nick Kyrgios-Stefanos Tsitsipas furore, British No 1 Cameron Norrie demonstrated tennis’s more wholesome side as he surged into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over a good mate.
The post-match handshake between Norrie and his American opponent Tommy Paul was full of warmth and bonhomie, by contrast with the visible animosity we had seen from Kyrgios and Tsitsipas the previous night.
“Tommy is one of my best friends on the tour,” Norrie said afterwards. “I practise with him a lot. But it was obviously a huge match for both of us today so we had to put that aside.”
In a sport largely populated by oddballs, Norrie is that rare thing: a tennis player with no side on him. He shows up and delivers unstinting physical effort every day, whether or not his game is firing.
Happily, he was on song on Sunday against Paul, an equally likeable fellow, whom he dispatched in straight sets: 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Norrie’s reward is a quarter-final against David Goffin, the experienced Belgian who overcame Frances Tiafoe yesterday in a 4hr 36min barn-burner. It will be the first quarter-final played here by a British male since Andy Murray’s hip blew up five years ago.
Living up to Murray’s example is not always easy. As Norrie put it last night, “At the beginning of the tournament, you guys were asking me, ‘You're British No 1, you got a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations on your shoulders.’ So for me to play the way that I did in all my matches so far means a lot.
“Now I'm the last one standing. But I think it's even more reason for everyone to get behind me. Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarter-final of a slam. I wanted to get it done.”
The tennis was of a high standard, especially when you consider that both men were making their maiden appearance in the fourth round of a slam.
Paul happens to be more interested in grass-court tennis than most of his compatriots, having grown up trying to emulate Tim Henman’s volleys. But in fact he spent most of the match on the baseline, where Norrie moved him around ruthlessly like a boxer working away at his opponent’s body.
We tend not to see too many clean winners from Norrie. He has never been a wham-bam Cam, preferring to grind out points through sheer consistency. In the end, though, few can keep up with his physical relentlessness.
From the very first game, he dominated the rallies with his faintly Rafa-esque lefty forehand, using the angles beautifully to push Paul out of position.
Apart from a single late wobble, in which Norrie dropped his serve for the first and only time at 4-3 in the third set, it was a commanding performance. And when you consider the shift that Goffin put in on Court No 2, it ought to make Norrie slight favourite to reach the semi-finals.
“One thing for sure, I know that I'm going to get into a lot of rallies with him,” said Norrie of the 5ft 11in Goffin, who looks like a spindly child by comparison with some of the monstrous physical specimens you see on the ATP Tour. “He's not going to serve me off the court. It's going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
It feels entirely in keeping with Norrie’s understated mien that he is cycling into the All England Club each day from his home. Bikes are not his big thing – he prefers running, where his best 10,000m time is a little under 37 minutes – but this is a way to maintain a little normality amid the madness.
Despite his high seeding – at No 9 – and a world ranking that dipped into the top 10 briefly in April, Norrie has always been able to wander freely around London without attracting attention. Only now, as he starts to last longer at the bigger events, is that starting to change.
This year, the Wimbledon crowd has developed a chant – “Norrie, Norrie, Norrie, oi, oi, oi” – to mark his emergence. Another sign of his growing profile was the fact that – in an echo of the recently retired Johanna Konta – he found himself answering questions about how British he actually it is.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2022
“It's pretty interesting,” replied Norrie, who was born in Johannesburg to a Scottish father and a Welsh mother. “My background is obviously from various places. But I'm living here, basing myself here. I feel good coming back here, practising with the younger Brits.
“I think ever since college I've been living here. Yeah, it's pretty similar to the people and the sports and everything. I love rugby, the cricket. I'm feeling pretty at home.”
It wasn’t the most convincing answer. Similar to what, Cam? Presumably, similar to what he was used to back in New Zealand, where he spent his childhood years before attending Texas Christian University. But it seems churlish to carp when we are talking about such a good egg.
As a gushing Heather Watson put it on Sunday, “He is everything that your coaches and your parents ask of you. His work ethic, his focus, his dedication, how he invests in himself. He's just the perfect example that you want your kids to aspire to be. And he's a great person, as well.”
Cameron Norrie vs Tommy Paul: as it happened
A bonus for Norrie?
Norrie's opposition in the quarter-finals, Goffin, played in the longest Wimbledon match of the 2022 tournament earlier today. The exhaustion on the Belgian's face was clear to see when he secured the victory.
Will that aid Norrie, who would have less game time when they face each other?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2022
Take a look at the winning moment
Norrie booked his spot in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, where he will play Goffin, and you can watch the celebrations here:
This was the moment British number one Cameron Norrie booked his spot in the #Wimbledon quarter finals. 👀
He beat Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4 7-5 6-4.
💻📱🖥 Watch live @BBCiPlayer and @BBCSport app#BBCTennis pic.twitter.com/JQWapw0wEK
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 3, 2022
Norrie has spoken to the BBC after winning his last 16 match:
To make the quarters first time in front of my family and friends is so special. It's a huge match for both of us and to play the way I did today, to execute everything I really enjoyed it. It's pretty crazy, a lot of feelings.
I'm the last one left so why not get behind me now even more. From the first round everyone has been behind me. Serving for the match I had a lot of different scenarios in my head.
I think if you watch me in 2017 I was not very patient, I think I got chopped up in an hour and ten minutes. I've definitely improved a lot and matured.
Norrie into quarters!
What an achievement for Norrie who fist pumps the air!
Quotes to come from the British No 1, his parents are thrilled.
Norrie 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 Paul* (*denotes next server)
That's one point down, a powerful shot down the right hand side.
Norrie doesn't have it all his own way though as Paul slices the ball behind the Brit's back.
Point two came as Paul pushed the ball out with too much power, a clenched fist from Norrie.
An ace served up point three to put him on a match point but the pressure is immense and he pushes the ball out.
Two more match points for Norrie but he doesn't need it! Paul pushes the ball out and Norrie is in his first Wimbledon quarter-final! He will face Goffin.
Norrie* 6-4, 7-5, 5-4 Paul (*denotes next server)
Another classic serve in this game sees Paul go 30-15 up, it was a great stretching shot to keep him in the match.
He wrapped up the game but Norrie will now serve for the third set and the match.
Norrie 6-4, 7-5, 5-3 Paul* (*denotes next server)
A no look back hand gives Norrie the first point of the match, what a piece of skill that was!
Paul challenged a ball he took off the line and sent out - a desperate call that failed but he is trying everything now to stay in this.
Norrie raced to a quick win and will have to break Paul to seal his quarters win.
Norrie* 6-4, 7-5, 4-3 Paul (*denotes next server)
A clever shot saw Norrie go the wrong way but Paul then pushed a shot out for another even contest.
The Brit then hit the net and a shot went out and from there the American saw out the game.
Paul has played well in this match but the class of Norrie should see the Brit through to the quarters.
Norrie 6-4, 7-5, 4-2 Paul* (*denotes next server)
There have been a few rogue shots from Norrie, the latest sailing way out. It meant Paul could go 30-30 in the game but a misjudged shot put the Brit straight back into a good position.
Another poor shot gave the game to Norrie, Paul needs a miracle.
Norrie* 6-4, 7-5, 3-2 Paul (*denotes next server)
Paul is trying to compose himself but it would be a huge feat to come back and win this.
It was an even match, going 30-30 after some great serves from Paul. A strange hit from Norrie gifts the game to Paul.
Norrie 6-4, 7-5, 3-1 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Paul manages to bend out of the way of a powerful shot, his hat flying off his head. That would have been painful if he was struck.
A fairly easy game that for Norrie, it's going out of reach for Paul here.
Norrie* 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 Paul (*denotes next server)
The Brit raced to a 30-0 lead and hunted for an early break in the third set.
Paul closed the gap to even it up to 30-30 but Norrie got the break point as a drop shot didn't pay off for the American.
He didn't capitalise on the opportunity though and the game went to deuce. It was deuce again after Paul couldn't close out the match but he had another chance with an ace giving him the advantage but again it went to 40-40.
And Norrie breaks him after a lengthy game!
Norrie 6-4, 7-5, 1-1 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Paul slipped there trying to return but he looks okay, no injury.
The American then took a good position, going 30-15 up, but he evened the scores quickly. An ace out him 40-30 up and he saw out the game well.
Norrie* 6-4, 7-5, 0-1 Paul (*denotes next server)
A long rally ends with Paul hitting the net - a perfect start for Norrie after the break.
The American hits back though, he will know he'll have to win this set to remain in the match.
And he does it, the first of six to stay in this.
Have a look at that second set win
The players are off for a break so in the meantime have a look at that last point:
ONE. SET. AWAY.
From the #Wimbledon quarter finals.
Britain's Cameron Norrie leads Tommy Paul 2-0 on Court No. 1.
💻📱🖥 Watch live on @BBCTwo, @BBCiPlayer and @BBCSport app#BBCTennis pic.twitter.com/Xun6k82fGi
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 3, 2022
Norrie 6-4, 7-5 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Norrie will serve for the set once again, Paul will be frustrated over the opportunity missed to go ahead for the first time.
He sewn up the second set briskly, one set to go and he reaches his first Wimbledon quarter-final.
Norrie* 6-4, 6-5 Paul (*denotes next server)
Norrie looks shaken after that break as he gives away a cheap point but Paul then does the same.
The American chanced a powerful long shot but it was a gamble too far as it went out. A double fault gave Norrie a break point and Paul saved the first with an ace and the next with a beautiful shot - sending Norrie the wrong way.
Norrie had a third break point of the game and this time he takes it! A break right back, these two going toe-to-toe.
Norrie 6-4, 5-5 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Paul rallied Norrie hard and came away with the first point of the game, he needs to break Norrie here to stay in the second set.
Norrie then pushed his shot wide to give the American another advantage but the Brit won the next point.
He then hit the net to gift Paul a break point and he does it! Wow! First break for Paul.
Norrie* 6-4, 5-4 Paul (*denotes next server)
Norrie will have to break Paul here if he wants to tie the second set up quickly.
The Brit challenged a call but fails again, he is yet to win one of his challenges. Paul then romped to victory to keep himself in the second.
Norrie to serve for the set.
Norrie 6-4, 5-3 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Norrie raced to a quick service game win after an early challenge from Paul.
The Brit seems in full control here despite some class from the American.
Norrie* 6-4, 4-3 Paul (*denotes next server)
New balls have been introduced for this game.
Paul reads a ball well as he leaves it to bounce out but Norrie evened the game 30-30. Another crucial game, if Paul is broken again it would put the second set firmly in Norrie's hands.
But he sees it out!
Norrie 6-4, 4-2 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Norrie looked to have an ace, the first of the game, but Paul challenged it. The American was right to do so as it was out.
The best rally of the game has the crowd cheering every return! That went into double figures and Norrie comes out the victor.
Paul pushed Norrie to deuce but a slick shot gave the Brit the advantage but Paul sent it back to deuce. Paul then had break point twice but once more he fumbles the opportunity.
Norrie takes the game after almost 10 minutes!
Norrie* 6-4, 3-2 Paul (*denotes next server)
This game is crucial, if Paul is broken here it would be a mountain to climb for the American to take the second set.
Norrie won the first point but Paul closed out the rest of the match. Nerves of steel there.
Norrie 6-4, 3-1 Paul* (*denotes next server)
An inch perfect shot from Norrie is cancelled out by a powerful hit by Paul to put the game 15-15.
It went 30-30 but Norrie inched ahead and then took the game. It has been a strong performance from the Brit so far, he hasn't wavered.
Norrie* 6-4, 2-1 Paul (*denotes next server)
A powerful long shot is too much for Paul to get to and the American then pushes his effort out.
The Brit reached break point and he took the opportunity. Paul's head faces the sky, he can't believe he's been broken again.
Norrie 6-4, 1-1 Paul* (*denotes next server)
A relatively easy service game for Norrie sees him level the second.
I'm surprised how sparse the crowd is for this match, a lot of empty seats.
Norrie* 6-4, 0-1 Paul (*denotes next server)
A great rally sees an inch perfect drop shot from Norrie give him the first point of the second set.
It looked as though the second set would mirror the first as Norrie but the American got a grip of the game. It headed to two deuces but Paul eventually took the win.
Norrie 6-4 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Norrie is serving for the first set, Paul has not yet been able to break the Brit.
The star raced to a clean sweep in the game to take the first set.
Paul is having fun with his racket in this match, here's an example of his twirling:
Norrie* 5-4 Paul (*denotes next server)
Paul uses a challenge and is successful to race to a 30-0 lead.
Norrie manages to pull it back to 30-30 and then to a deuce. The ball strikes Norrie's racket awkwardly and it bounces into the crowd, giving Paul the advantage. The American sees out the game.
Norrie 5-3 Paul* (*denotes next server)
A powerful underarm hit evens up the game at 15-15 from Paul, the American still doesn't seem 100% comfortable in this clash but he is growing slowly.
The Brit uses his last challenge and fails again - he has none left. It leads to two deuces but Norrie sees out the game to go two games clear of Paul once again.
Norrie* 4-3 Paul (*denotes next server)
That was a great hold of serve in the last game and the momentum has jeered Norrie as he collects an early point in this one.
But it slips from Norrie slightly as Paul comes back to go 40-15 and eventually takes the game.
Norrie 4-2 Paul* (*denotes next server)
A 122mph serve is too much for Paul to deal with as Norrie starts to get a grip of this first set.
A slight blunder from Norrie sees him whack it out of play, unsure of what he had in mind there. And what a drop shot that is from Paul, the American is growing into this match, as he pushes Norrie. The British No 1 put in another challenge which failed again and the game go to deuce.
Advantage goes to Paul who is on break point - a huge moment - but it returns to deuce. Once more Paul had the break point but again it goes to deuce, a thrilling game!
It goes to a sixth deuce but it is Norrie who comes away with the game!
Norrie* 3-2 Paul (*denotes next server)
A great rally ends with Norrie pushing his shot out, if that had stayed in it would have made the crowd erupt. While the court isn't packed they are still cheering the Brit on.
Some skill from both close to the net sees Paul outsmart his opponent with Norrie's racket clipping the ball.
This time Paul holds as he gets a feel for this match.
Norrie 3-1 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Another strong service game from Norrie seemingly pushing Paul into uncharacteristic errors.
The American displays his skill to the crowd though with a shot pushed to the corner but another error gifts Norrie the game.
Norrie* 2-1 Paul (*denotes next server)
A better service game for Paul after that horror start saw Norrie push his shots out three times.
That will give Paul some confidence after a nervous opening to this last 16 match.
Norrie 2-0 Paul* (*denotes next server)
Norrie lobbed Paul for his first point on serve and while Paul looked to have expertly used a drop shot, it was judged out.
A rapid service game for Norrie put him in control.
First set: Cameron Norrie* 1-0 Tommy Paul (*denotes next server)
Points were exchanged back and forth in the early stages, Norrie put in an early challenge which failed.
Norrie evened up the scores again to go 30-30 with Paul's service game slightly shaky - a lot of second serves needed.
A cracking rally ended in an early break point for the Brit which he executed well.
Off we go
Paul to serve first
Norrie and Paul out on court
Here we go then!
Norrie and Paul have come out to court and the match will be underway shortly.
There are a lot of empty seats here, I'd go as far as to say it looks half empty.
Norrie out in 15 minutes
With that women's singles match concluded we have a short wait for Brit Norrie to come out to Court 1.
It should be around 15 minutes until he makes an appearance.
She has spoken to the BBC ahead of Norrie's match:
There are no words for this amazing crowd. It was amazing. Even when I was 5-4 down you were always there, I just said they believe in me so I believe in me and I kept going.
It makes me so proud to be a mum. It's the best thing in the world. I love my two kids, to be able to do this together. It makes it really special.
Maria defeats Ostapenko
In a brave and thrilling performance Germany's Maria has defeated Latvian Ostapenko after coming back from being a set down.
The final score there 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.
Just a few moments now until Norrie comes out to court!
While we wait...
Ostapenko and Maria have gone 4-4 in the third set.
So while we wait for Norrie to get underway, let's take a look at this emotional moment earlier on Centre Court. With the centenary celebrations John McEnroe took some time to give shout out to Sue Barker who is retiring from broadcasting the tournament.
She received a standing ovation:
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 3, 2022
We wait for Court 1
Norrie will be up next on Court 1 but we wait for the conclusion of a thriller between Ostapenko and Maria.
Ostapenko took the first set 7-5, Maria came back in the second to take that 7-5.
They are still playing the third with Latvian 4-3 up.
Norrie embracing the occasion
Cameron Norrie takes on Tommy Paul in his first last- 16 Wimbledon match with pressure on his shoulders being one of the few Brits left in the All England club this year.
Norrie, who recently won the Madrid Open, realises the strength of his opposition and has described it as a "battle".
“There’s no easy guys out there," the British No 1 said. "Tommy won really comfortably (against Jiri Vesely in round three). He seems really locked in, and he really likes the grass. It’s going to be really tough regardless if the draw is open or not. At the end of the day, I’ll take it again.
“We’ve actually practised maybe two or three times already here at Wimbledon. We know each other’s game very well. Good friends off the court. But we’re going to both leave that aside and it’s going to be a battle, for sure.”
It is an afternoon for the British players with Heather Watson already underway on Centre Court in her last 16 clash, with neither having reached the quarter-finals before.
The pressure may be on but Norrie will be looking to enjoy the Wimbledon experience and he says he has been "embracing" each match as it comes so far.
"Being the British number one, playing on Centre Court, being in the spotlight and playing to that level that I did, was a lot of fun," he told the BBC. "I embraced it and really enjoyed it."
The ninth seed overcame Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Jaume Munar, where he fought back from two sets to one down to win, before beating Steve Johnson in the third round.
"When you've got the momentum and everything is going your way, it [the home crowd support] can help," he said.
"On the flip side of that, if I was down in the score, they can bring me through it.
"I'm trying to use it to my advantage as much as I can."
All eyes are on the British stars but can they pull off victories? We will soon find out!