Cameron Norrie is set to take on world number one Novak Djokovic after making his ATP Finals debut against Casper Ruud in Turin.
The Brit, a surprise call up to the illustrious event as the second alternate, ultimately suffered disappointment as his ATP Finals bow ended in a three-set defeat to Ruud on Wednesday evening.
Norrie had arrived in Italy at short notice and was not expecting to feature as an active player in the tournament. However, with both Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas unable to continue following their opening matches, it opened the door for Norrie to come in, along with home favourite Jannik Sinner.
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Djokovic is already through to the last four and is guaranteed to top Green Group, and it will be the 20-time Grand Slam champion who Norrie will next face in his final match on Friday. It is a prospect the Brit is extremely excited for.
"I can’t wait," Norrie said. "I have never played Novak before or practised with him, so it is a first for me. I am looking forward to it.
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"I watched him today and he is firing and really feeling the ball well. He is really good in these conditions. It is quite quick, the court. It is going to be difficult, but I am looking forward to it. I am going to see if I belong and can compete with a guy like that.
"I enjoyed every second out there and I was feeling good in practice and was ready to play and compete. I came out firing and loved the match. It just came down to a couple games in the second and third sets. I was really happy with my level.
This week has been incredible for me so far. I was using it as a training block heading into the Davis Cup, so [it is] a bonus to get a couple of matches in here. It is huge for the experience.
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"It was one of the biggest matches for my career, so I just tried to learn from Indian Wells and take from that the experience, the emotions, playing big matches and playing well under the pressure there. It has been a lot of fun playing at this level and playing at this level all year.
"I was really happy with how I handled the match [with Ruud] and how I approached it. I was basically out there playing for free as the second alternate. I had nothing to lose and I came out firing. All credit to Casper, that is the best I have ever seen him serve."
Norrie is in the final weeks of what has been a remarkable breakthrough season, earning a career-best 50 ATP Tour-level victories, including taking the prestigious Indian Wells Masters crown last month.
Cameron Norrie comes from a set down to claim biggest career title at Indian Wells
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