Home » French Open 2023: Cameron Norrie plays Lucas Pouille, Novak Djokovic & Carlos Alcaraz in action

French Open 2023: Cameron Norrie plays Lucas Pouille, Novak Djokovic & Carlos Alcaraz in action

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French Open 2023: Cameron Norrie plays Lucas Pouille, Novak Djokovic & Carlos Alcaraz in action
Cameron Norrie is aiming to reach the last 32 of the French Open for the third successive year
Dates: 28 May-11 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra the BBC Sport website and app from 15:00-18:00 BST and 19:30-22:00

Britain’s Cameron Norrie says he is relishing playing in “the tough moments” as he prepares to face home player Lucas Pouille at the French Open.

Norrie, seeded 14th, plays qualifier Pouille at about 18:00 BST on Wednesday, returning to Court Suzanne Lenglen where he beat Benoit Paire – another Frenchman – in a partisan atmosphere.

The British number one was regularly booed by the Paris crowd for aborting his ball toss, while he was also harshly penalised by the chair umpire for hindrance after being deemed to have distracted Paire with a mid-point shout.

It was another controversial moment for Norrie, who was criticised by 22-time major champion Novak Djokovic for his behaviour at the recent Italian Open.

Speaking about the prospect of facing Pouille, Norrie said: “I think it’s great to play those matches in Grand Slams against home favourites – that’s why I play tennis. I love those moments.

“On the flip side of that, it is difficult at times. I think the crowd can be tough.

“But I keep reminding myself it’s good to be playing, that I want to be out there competing, and being in those tough moments when the crowd is against me.

“It makes it even better to come through those matches.”

The 27-year-old is the last Briton remaining in the singles draws at Roland Garros after Dan Evans and Jack Draper both lost in the first round.

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Paire, 34, is a showman who engages the home crowd with his demonstrative antics and the fans created a noisy atmosphere on Monday as he threatened to cause an upset against Norrie.

A similar mood will face the Briton on the fourth day in Paris.

While Pouille is a different character to Paire, he too has recovered from mental health struggles to play at the highest level again and has received extra support from the Roland Garros crowd.

The former world number 10 revealed earlier this year he had depression and alcoholism after a host of injuries derailed his career.

Coming through his first-round match was Pouille’s first main-draw victory at a major since the 2019 US Open, leading to an emotional celebration from the 29-year-old as he sang the French national anthem with the crowd on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

“I think a lot of people are supporting me since the first round of the qualifying, and people are really supporting me and want me to win,” said Pouille, who reached the 2019 Australian Open semi-finals.

“They’ve never pushed me as hard as they’ve done.”

What else is happening on Wednesday?

With 14-time winner Rafael Nadal injured, two of the favourites to replace the Spaniard as the men’s champion continue their bids on Wednesday.

Spanish top seed Carlos Alcaraz, 20, plays Japan’s Taro Daniel on Court Philippe Chatrier at about 16:00 BST.

Serbia’s Djokovic, seeded third, takes on Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the night session, which will not start before 19:15 BST.

Djokovic, bidding for a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam singles title, will also face questions after writing a political message about Kosovo on a camera lens following his first-round win over Aleksandar Kovacevic.

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Earlier on Chatrier, French fifth seed Caroline Garcia – aiming to become the host nations first singles winner since 2000 – faces Russia’s Anna Blinkova.

Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka, one of the favourites for the women’s titles and targeting the world number one ranking this fortnight, plays compatriot Iryna Shymanovich.

There is more British interest in the first round of the doubles events, led by three-time men’s major champion Joe Salisbury.

Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram, the second seeds, play Argentina’s Guido Pella and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.

Julian Cash and Henry Pattern also play in the men’s doubles, with Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett competing in the women’s event.

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