Cam You Believe It, Its 'Norrie: My Entourage'
Over the past five years, Cameron Norrie has established himself as a major force on the ATP Tour. The Briton has won five tour-level titles, cracked the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
Behind every top athlete is a world class team, and that is no different for Norrie, who works alongside coach Facundo Lugones, physio Julian Romero and strength and conditioning coach Vasek Jursik.
ATP Tour sat down with 'Team Norrie' last month to discuss everyone’s role, their team spirit and much more…
“When I first turned pro is was just Facu and I,” Norrie told ATP Tour. “Then slowly after that, I got an agent, James, and then at the end of that year, I ended up getting a physio, Julian, and traveling with him a little bit more and getting a bit more knowledge and learning a bit more like that. Then having a fitness trainer just at home at my base, and then suddenly, having a fitness trainer, [Vasek], as well on the road.
“As I progressed, I was able to pay more and invest more in myself. And I was able to build a team together. For me to purely just focus on tennis and having people responsible for different parts of my career.”
The World No. 13, who revealed his team are very competitive, is thankful for the role everyone plays, highlighting the importance of both hard work and good personalities.
“I think without anyone on the team, I think it's difficult,” Norrie said. “We're all pushing one another for a goal at the end of the day and we all know what we have to do. It's so cool travelling the world with people that I get to select and that I get on really well with and that want the best for me and want the best for my tennis and me as a person. It's really cool and I think we're constantly bouncing energy off one another.
“You're spending a lot of time with one another traveling the world and I think them as people is equally as important as them delivering a great session or telling you the right thing. I think the way they say it and how much you trust them and different parts, I think are even more important than actually what is being said or the content.”
Evidenced by his success, Norrie has found the right team dynamic in recent years and will hope they can continue to push on together this fortnight when he seeks a deep run at Wimbledon.
Facundo Lugones: CoachCoach Lugones has been by Norrie’s side since the Briton’s university days. After studying together at Texas Christian University, Norrie left school in 2017 to turn professional and called on the Argentine to coach him.
It has been a fruitful six years for the pair, with Norrie lifting five tour-level titles and rising to a career-high No. 8. Lugones believes their ability to combine a deep friendship with hard work has been key to their success.
“We've known each other for more than 10 years now,” Lugones said. “We are able to separate our friendship with our business relationship. We don't really take things personal when it comes to work. And then off the court, we're friends. When we need to work, we work really hard. It is about being honest, being able to talk about literally anything, not hiding anything from each other. I think we've done a really good job with that and being super supportive of each other when we need to."
As coach, a fundamental part of Lugones’ job is to watch opponents before matches. The 30-year-old gave insight into how scouting works.
“In a tournament, if Cam plays tomorrow, we have already watched the matches of the other guy and we have talked about those matches and about the guy and then in practice, we'll talk about his game and what we need to do. And then just before the match, maybe five minutes before the match, we talk more tactics,” Lugones said.
While everyone is fully committed to their roles, Norrie, Romero and Jursik revealed Lugones is Mr. Serious when it comes to work. It is a label the Argentine agrees with.
“I think when it comes to work, I think yeah [I am the most serious],” Lugones said. “Julian and Vasek are a little more relaxed and they also talk about fantasy [football] all day. Cameron’s even doing bench press and talking about fantasy. I think they're all pretty serious, but I would say maybe I'll have to take that.”
Lugones’ hard-working attitude has helped disciplined Norrie in his drive to the top. The Argentine revealed his highlight working with Norrie was the lefty’s Indian Wells title run in 2021. The team are now hungry for more success.
“I don't think you need to push Cam a lot,” Lugones said. “He's highly motivated and he knows what he wants and what it takes. I think it's a matter of keeping him in line and really clear what he needs to do and how he needs to manage things on and off the court. Keeping everyone really hungry for more, I think that's something Cam has done really well. He got a lot of good results and a lot of decent achievements, but he always wants more and he's never satisfied, so it's just a big plus.”
Julian Romero: PhysioOne of Norrie’s best traits on court is his endurance, with the Briton frequently leaning on his fitness to outlast opponents. Physio Romero is one of the key men involved in ensuring the 27-year-old is at full capacity when he competes, with the pair working together on a full-time basis since the US Open in 2018.
“My role in the team is basically to keep Cam fresh and healthy,” Romero said. “We have very long training days and we start usually trying to treat his body, to release his joints and work on the mobility, doing a comprehensive warmup. And after all the training and tennis and the gym, we work on his body usually in the room or in the physio areas in the tournaments with some passive treatments, such as massages and stretches.”
Romero spent time with Norrie during the offseason in 2017. After being asked to join the team on a full-time basis in 2018, he jumped at the chance.
“I really liked the growth mindset of the whole team, not only Cam, who is usually really hungry and willing to learn a lot and to work hard for what his goal is. So that was one of the main things I really liked about joining the team,” the Argentine said.
With the team spending a large period of the year on the road, their need for strong relationships is key. Like Lugones, Romero loves the camaraderie and competitiveness of the group.
“It's pretty fun to work with Cam and with the whole team. We have developed over the years a very nice relationship with each other,” Romero said. “We've been playing a lot of cards, and we are pretty competitive, especially Cam and Vasek. It's carnage with the cards, but we also do fantasy football with the Premier League, so we watch a lot of football matches together. We go for dinners. It's fun to be around outside the job.”
Vasek Jursik: Strength & Conditioning CoachStrength and conditioning coach Vasek Jursik works closely with Romero to ensure Norrie is in peak physical condition when he steps onto court. Since joining the team in 2019, Jursik has helped build the Briton into the player he is today, working with the lefty week in, week out.
“On a tournament day, normally we have a body prep before the practice, which takes about an hour and a half where we do mobility and then core and shoulder prevention. Then he plays his tennis and then we have strength after. That is [the basic structure] but it depends on the day,” Jursik said when describing his role.
Having worked alongside Norrie for four years, Jursik has seen the World No. 13’s relationship with coach Lugones develop. He feels their strong bond has been crucial in Norrie’s rise.
“The relationship between Facu and Cameron I like a lot,” Jursik said. “They're very close to each other. And I think Cameron trusts Facu a lot and we can see how much Cameron improved through the years. So I think that the relationship works pretty well.”
While the team is competitive, Lugones and Romero revealed that Jursik and Norrie lead the way, with card games a daily occurrence. Jursik was in full agreement.
“Cameron is very competitive so every time we have free time, he just wants to play games,” Jursik said. “We play lots of cards and we play for the coffees as a team. Sometimes when we have a major we pick out the qualifiers and then whoever loses needs to pay for coffees for a week. We're doing all these kinds of things and everything is for the coffee. I'm the guy who plays a lot with Cameron, especially the cards, and yeah, he's winning a lot quite a lot.”
However, when it is time to work, the team is always ready.
“I think it's not easy because we are working so much together, so the work and the relationships go together," Jursik said. "But I think Cameron knows when he needs to work and when it is the time to have more fun. He knows when he needs to push a bit more. I'll tell him and then he understands straightaway.”
Photo Credits: ATP Tour