Cameron Norrie on timing, tennis and why he wears a diving watch

The elite British tennis player and Rado ambassador explains his passion for precision — and why timing is everything…

Cameron Norrie doesn’t leave anything to chance. It’s one of the key reasons he’s only the fourth British tennis player in history — after Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski — to break onto the ATP Top Ten list. Whether it’s his flat bunt backhand, his straight arm technique or his minimal backswing, everything about Norrie’s game is meticulous and mechanical; precision-engineered to deliver exactly what he needs, exactly when he needs it.

Much like his wristwatch. The athlete’s timepiece of choice, the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver, is the latest in a series of the Swiss brand’s timepieces Norrie has buckled up since he was named an ambassador for the watchmaker last year. 

And what a year it’s been for Norrie. After starting 2021 in the modest 74th spot, the athlete began his rapid rise to the top — climbing the ATP rankings with the same speed and agility he displays on the court. Following his 52 tour-level wins in 2021 — including his first two ATP Tour titles — Norrie added a third title at Delray Beach, Florida, in February 2022.

It’s been a stratospheric journey; and one that reached its zenith when Norrie landed in the ATP Top Ten last month. But his success is no surprise. Competing for Great Britain since 2013, Norrie may have been born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand, but sport and training has always offered him a constant in life. And, even if he hadn’t managed to make it big in tennis, the 26-year-old still believes he’d be a professional sportsman.

“I’m a big fan of playing golf, or going for a swim if the weather is nice,” he tells Gentleman’s Journal. “But, if I wasn’t playing tennis, I’d hopefully be playing another sport for a living. Maybe cricket — since that was the sport I was best at when I was younger”.

Because, whether it’s nailing a tricky between-the-legs shot on the court or playing a tight ramp shot on the cricket pitch, Norrie says that sporting success always comes down to precision. Power may be important, and stamina clearly plays a part — but he claims that timing is the most crucial element to winning any match.

“Time plays a role in almost everything I do,” he explains. “I keep a close eye on it, and I like to wear a watch to keep track of my schedule. And there’s timekeeping during a match, I’m aware of the clocks. Even more important, though, is timing, which is different. 

“Timing is knowing the right moment to do something, on court or off. It’s more a feeling than anything scientific — or having anything to do with measurement. You just know when the time is right to do something different, be that a change of pace, or a shot that can surprise your opponent”.

It’s one of the many reasons that Norrie is championing the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver. The latest evolution of an early brand classic, this handsome diver from the Swiss brand features a rotating bezel made from hardened stainless steel and full compliance with the notoriously scrupulous ‘ISO 6425’ diver’s watch specifications.

“Timing is knowing the right moment to do something — on court or off…”

“I admire both the intricate mechanics and the design,” says Norrie, “as well as the overall look and feel of the watch. I also appreciate the remarkable attention to detail. It makes a huge difference — and not just in tennis.”

But the watch’s court-ready credentials are impressive nonetheless. Fitted with the Rado R763 automatic movement, the latest Captain Cook’s calibre is mounted in a matte plasma ceramic monobloc case; sturdy enough to meet any challenge — whether you’re an elite athlete or an adventurer off on an expedition.

The sun-ray blue dial is lacquered, but endlessly legible — thanks to lashings of Super-LumiNova on the indexes and flanges. The polished bracelet is fitted with a titanium 3-fold clasp for added security and the 300-metre water resistance affords Norrie the opportunity to go from court to plunge pool without a second’s thought.

But perhaps the most precious part of the Captain Cook package, for the athlete at least, is its clarity — and innate ease of use. With a red printed date at 3 o’clock to keep him to schedule and an 80-hour power reserve that’ll ensure he’s never late, it’s the ideal tool to help Norrie navigate what can be a pretty busy timetable. “In a regular week training,” he says, “I’ll play tennis six times, plus three or four gym sessions”.

And Rado has been keeping Norrie on time for months. Last year, the young tennis pro joined the Rado YoungStars programme, and he has strapped on several of the watchmaker’s innovative models as a result. 

And, though he still can’t pick a favourite — “That’s a tough one. I settle on one for a while, but then another great one catches my eye!” — he says that every model from the Swiss brand offers different features to further streamline his daily life. And that, Norrie adds, is just one of the many reasons that the brand is so easy to work with.

“It’s pretty easy-going,” he says. “We have a good relationship, and I appreciate the support. I feel like they’re on my team. I’m also a fan of watches, and it’s a pleasure to be associated with a Swiss watchmaker everyone knows. I admire the precision, dedication and craft skills that are essential to watchmaking and tennis alike”.

Norrie, of course, is not the first tennis player Rado has backed and boosted. A key voice in the sport for almost four decades, the watchmaker has an enviable heritage as the sponsor of some of the sport’s most prestigious international tournaments. And, with every serve the brand sees, every volley it facilitates and every baseline rally that happens on its watch, Rado learns what it can do to make better, sturdier watches. It’s yet another reason the technically-minded Norrie feels an affinity to the reliable luxury brand.

“And, in tennis, materials are just as important as they are in watchmaking,” the athlete explains. “The quality of the materials has to be state-of-the-art. There’s always a lot of research underway, and new materials for making racquets, shoes, all the gear. 

“It’s important to try out the prototypes and new products, to see what works best for you. Especially with racquets, the materials they’re made of are getting better, stronger, lighter. This sort of thing can give you an edge — and that can make all the difference”.

Cameron Norrie on timing, tennis and why he wears a diving watch

Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver

£3,255.00

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