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Cam Norrie is ready for a brutal fight as he takes on Andrey Rublev at the US Open

It was a time when Leon Smith, captain of Britain’s Davis Cup since 2010, had to look for non-Murray players to fill his squads.

Things are looking up now, with a total of 14 GB players involved in qualifying, main draw and doubles at Flushing Meadows.

In singles, the last representative remaining in the fourth round is again Cam Norrie, who takes on Russia’s Andrey Rublev in an attempt to reach the quarter-finals of their second consecutive Grand Slam.

Britain's No.1 Cam Norrie takes on Russia's Andrey Rublev in the US Open round of 16

Britain’s No.1 Cam Norrie takes on Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the US Open round of 16

Although based in London with British parents and passport, Norrie’s development took place largely in New Zealand and the American college system.

Nevertheless, he is now considered to be his most important role model in British football. He doesn’t have the god-given skills of Andy Murray, but shows what can be achieved through absolute professionalism and a perfectly put together support setup.

He will be number 1 in the British team playing the Davis Cup World Group qualifier in Glasgow next week, but Smith now has a host of other options to look through when deciding the rest of the team.

Norrie knows he has a tough task ahead of him when he takes on Rublev

Norrie knows he has a tough task ahead of him when he takes on Rublev

“Seeing how many bodies we have in the singles, doubles and qualifying slams – it sets a really good vibe and I think everyone thrives on that,” Smith said. “I’ve been through team permutations all summer.”

While the depth has yet to be much greater, it is odd to think that Britain now has just one fewer man in the world top 50 in tennis (four) than in golf.

Part of that’s down to Norrie, and Smith points to how he’s reaped the rewards of having a long-term, collaborative and stable team around him.

Though he didn’t mention her, Emma Raducanu is among those who see his example as one to follow.

“I came here for qualifying week and attended a couple of their training sessions, which Cam and Facu (Lugones, his coach) do, it’s just so on point,” said Smith.

“He’s very clear on his journey, what he wants around him and how he works, when he comes to practice, what he’s going to practice, where he stays, how he manages his days. He is a very mature operator.

“The consistency of his team is really important, he’s had it for so long and it’s grown with him on this journey.”

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith is pleased with the greater depth among British male players

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith is pleased with the greater depth among British male players

His Top 50 peers Murray, Dan Evans and Jack Draper have also taken advantage of having established teams and regimes around them.

All three have been eliminated in the last 32, although each had enough chances to force a different result and Draper was in the lead when he picked up a hamstring injury that will keep him away from Glasgow.

Norrie now has to deal with world No. 11 Rublev, the 24-year-old who has been ruled out of Wimbledon but has gone further than most Russian players by hinting at his disgust at what is happening in Ukraine.

Smith backed up Norrie to make a big impact against Rublev and outlast his opponent

Smith backed up Norrie to make a big impact against Rublev and outlast his opponent

Once a member of a Moscow boy band, he has twice been with Harry Styles at his recent concerts at Madison Square Garden. Though soft-spoken, there is nothing relaxed about his tennis game, continuously hitting the ball wildly hard with both wings, with a relative lack of variation.

He only advanced to the fourth round via a tiebreak in the fifth set against Denis Shapovalov.

This grueling encounter could come at a price if the match against Norrie, who has almost the biggest fuel tank on the entire ATP Tour, goes on.

It should still be pretty full as he hasn’t lost a set yet despite not playing as well as he did at Wimbledon. In the tactical battle, Norrie will use his unorthodox non-spinning backhand to prevent the Russian from teeing off from his favorite positions.

“I think it could be a brutal and long match, which is good for Cam,” Smith said. “It’s a match where he can cause problems for Rublev. Keep the ball low off that backhand so Rublev doesn’t have that hitting zone on his forehand that’s absolutely huge.

“He will also have to weather some storms because Rublev is so good.

“Wimbledon was huge for Cam and the confidence he drew from it is very important. He’s in his second week but wants to go further and will sit back.’

A win for Norrie would not only put him in the last eight but also place him above the missing Novak Djokovic in 7th place on the leaderboard.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11179243/Cam-Norrie-ready-brutal-battle-takes-Andrey-Rublev-Open.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Cam Norrie is ready for a brutal fight as he takes on Andrey Rublev at the US Open

Maureen Mackey

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