Emma Raducanu & Cameron Norrie - the future of British tennis or ’one-hit
By Milosz Kokosza
It has been quite a few weeks for British tennis. Emma Raducanu and Cameron Norrie
introduced themselves to the world’s tennis and made history for their country. A
successful finish of the 2021 season for the Britons made fans in the United Kingdom very
optimistic for the future, but is it right?
On Sunday night, Cameron Norrie completed his marvellous run in the California desert and captured
the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open. He came back from a set and a break down to
defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, securing his first ATP Masters 1000 title and the second
career title. The 26-year-old became the first-ever British player to win tennis’ unofficial ’fifth major’
at Indian Wells and the first to reach the Masters 1000 final since Andy Murray in 2016 in Paris.
Indian Wells title also established him as the new British number one - moving past Daniel Evans.
Norrie’s success in California was just the icing on the cake for his impressive 2021 campaign. He has
won his first ATP title in Los Cabos, Mexico, back in July and had an impressive run at Wimbledon,
where he lost to a 20-time Grand Slam and 8-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the third
round. Additionally, the 26-year-old appeared in the most finals on tour - 6 - sharing the record only
with world number one Novak Djokovic. In his breakout season, Norrie jumped up from 74th to 16th
place in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking and is on the verge of qualifying for
the elite eight-man season-ending tournament in Turin. With 2,830 points, he sits in 10th position,
only 160 points behind Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who is the last man to qualify at the moment.
However, with tournaments still to play in Vienna, Paris, Stockholm, and 1,750 points still to grab,
Norrie has a chance to conclude his outstanding season with the ATP Finals appearance.
Cameron Norrie’s success at Indian Wells extends a fascinating few weeks for British tennis. Just
over a month ago, the 18-year-old Emma Raducanu shocked the whole tennis world and completed
one of the most spectacular breakout runs in tennis history. Raducanu defeated Canada's Leylah
Fernandez in the US Open final to become the first-ever qualifier, man or woman, to win a Grand
Slam title. And she made it in an incredible style, not dropping a single set and defeating the likes of
Belinda Bencic, the 2020 Olympics gold medallist. The victory at Flushing Meadows established
Raducanu as the first British woman to triumph in a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade’s Wimbledon
title in 1977. The 18-year-old Briton also became the youngest major champion since Maria
Sharapova in 2004 and won the title in just her second major appearance, setting a new record.
There is more than enough to be happy about. The recent accomplishments of Cameron Norrie and
Emma Raducanu have shown that British tennis is doing all right. However, are the Britons ready to
repeat their success and stay at the very top of the game?
Cameron Norrie's future appears to be more certain. He constantly showed potential from the early
stages of his career. He was ranked in the world’s top 10 as a junior and was one of the best
performers at college in the United States. It took him only one year to break into the world’s top 100
since he turned pro in 2017. His progression and improvement of his game are visible each season,
and each year at the tour is a step forward in his career. His consistency finally led him to a breakout
season, the first tour title, and the first ATP Masters 1000 crown. Norrie’s introduced himself at the
top of the game, and he might stay there for a longer period. With the ’Big Three’ era (Federer, Nadal,
Djokovic) slowly coming to an end, the upcoming seasons will be full of opportunities for Norrie and
other ’NextGen’ players.
Emma Raducanu, on the other hand, might have a much more difficult journey. Her professional
career started just four months ago, and there are still so many basic milestones she has not recorded
yet. The US Open victory is a lifetime achievement, but her straight-set loss in the first match after
triumph in New York might give some sense of uncertainty about the future. We have seen so many
’one-hit wonders’ before, especially in women’s tennis, which is probably the most unpredictable tour
in the world. Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, or more recently Jelena Ostapenko - these are just a few
examples of players, who after a surprising victory in a major tournament, recorded a significant
There is a difficult challenge in front of Raducanu. After hitting the newspapers’ headlines, the
pressure is now on her. She has already shown that she can play great tennis, and she is mentally
strong on court, but the challenge now is to handle the off-court tension, fans’ high expectations, and
constant media pressure. Naomi Osaka’s situation showed it could be difficult, but special players
have the ability to overcome all these obstacles, and Emma Raducanu is something special in
women’s tennis. The 18-year-old still has the entire career in front of her and there is more than
enough time to gain experience and mature. In the past weeks, she has learned and improved more
than some do in years, and it is just the beginning. As long as Raducanu handles the off-court pressure
and focuses on her tennis, the future is bright.
Concluding, both Cameron Norrie and Emma Raducanu are in front of one of the biggest challenges
in their professional lives. They established themselves at the top of the game, but staying there is a
real challenge. A much longer and more demanding journey starts now. The future is bright, but only
time will tell who has reached their potential and who has not.