British No. 1 Cameron Norrie opens up on the challenge of leading the home charge at Wimbledon this summer, whilst also taking inspiration from Daniil Medvedev as he targets his long-term goal of reaching world No. 1.
It feels great coming back to the UK. I've played almost every week on the Tour this year, going from tournament to tournament and staying in hotels for almost two months. So to be sleeping in my own bed feels good.
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I love London this time of year, especially with all these tournaments. The days are super long and I enjoy the feeling of being on the grass, being at home and having that support.
I just feel that everyone in the UK has been pretty miserable with the weather the whole year and then suddenly now it's good so everyone's out and about till late, and I love that it doesn't get dark until about 10pm. Everyone's in a good mood, the pubs are packed, everyone's enjoying the tennis and there's a lot to look forward to.
I think you take the pressure of being British No. 1 - I'd take my progress over the last couple of years.
Coming back this year being British No. 1 is exactly where I want to be. Obviously, it would've been nice to be a little bit higher in the world rankings, but I've got a lot to improve on in my game and I'm really enjoying the challenge of everything and of the grass. I really like the grass now. I feel like I had a decent season on it last year and that gave me a lot of confidence. I haven't played too much on it in my career so I'm still learning and it's all pretty new to me, but it's really exciting.
It's a surface that suits my game, being a lefty and having my backhand that's very flat. I think it's a good surface for me.
Wimbledon is my favourite tournament of the year and I really like the courts so I'm looking forward to it. For me - like I've been saying all year - I want to make the second week for the first time and hopefully go deeper than that. Over and above that, I just want to keep enjoying it, embrace the grass and keep improving. I've got my team around me so there's no reason why I can't do that.
I love seeing the little kids throughout the world yelling "Go Norrie!" and seeing that they're recognising me now. It's cool and I'm hopefully looking to inspire a few of them, but it has taken a bit of getting used to. I can't just go and watch random matches now without getting bothered too much - but that just comes with it.

Cameron Norrie

Image credit: Getty Images

I've really enjoyed the last couple of years, and what's exciting to me is I've got so much to improve on as well. I want to keep pushing towards being back inside the top 10 and the top five. There's a long way to go but ultimately I want to push towards world No. 1.
It was nice to tick the box to be top 10 but I need to keep doing more of the same and do it on a bigger scale. I've realised that there are guys that play so well against me now just because they're the underdog, whereas a couple of years ago it was the flip side. It's certainly been a bit of a change where I'm playing someone like Grigor Dimitrov - as I did at Queen's - and I'm the favourite. He's been No. 3 in the world and in the semis of Grand Slams.
It's impressive for me to see what Daniil Medvedev has done. I've been following him - he's my favourite player to watch - and just to see how he's got to world No. 1 with his game style has given me some confidence. I'm not saying it's easy at all - he's insanely talented - but there's no reason why I can't do the same.
In terms of British tennis at the moment, I think we have a great group of guys coming through. We've obviously got myself, Dan Evans and Andy Murray all playing great this time of year. It's impressive to see what Andy is doing. He's still pushing and doing great on the grass and hopefully, I'll get a few practices in with him leading into Wimbledon.
I've been practising with Jack Draper too and he's playing really good. I always have good practice with him and I have little blocks with him throughout the year, so it's great to be helping the younger guys out a little bit.
Even just behind that, you've got Ryan Peniston, who beat Casper Ruud at Queen's. Liam Broady has had a very solid year too and there are so many up-and-coming guys a couple of years younger than myself. I'm grateful to be leading those guys and I'm trying to be as professional as I can and to try and keep competing as hard as I can, as they are watching week in and week out how I'm doing. I'm trying to set the tone with the culture to try to get us all going together in the same direction.
The other countries are doing that well, for example, Italy has so many guys in the top 100. Why can't that be a country like ours? We have so much talent and I think in the next couple of years you're going to see those guys coming through into the top 100 and top 50.
These are exciting times for British tennis.
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Follow Cameron Norrie on Instagram (@norriee) and Twitter (@cam_norrie)
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