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// Tim Henman


been much happier to be British No.2 and No.5 in the world. British No.1 was an amazing achievement, but I’d always looked at the bigger picture and was much prouder of reaching No.4 in the world.”


With great highs came great lows. A poignant match in Tim’s career was the 2001 semi final in which he lost to Goran Ivanisevic: “If I could play one match again, it would be this one. It was a game played over 3 days, with numerous rain delays. I’ve had plenty of rain delays in my career, but 3 days is a long time – especially during a game of such magnitude. After a match like that, I probably wasn’t a bundle of fun for a few days but you’ve got to keep perspective on things. You’ve got to keep working hard and try and learn from your mistakes.”


With his focus firmly on the competition, Tim discusses the nice guys of the game: “I played Federer a lot in my career. He’s achieved so much, yet is still so humble and down to earth. He hasn’t changed from the time I met him when he was 17 and is a great ambassador for our sport. On the flip side, Marcelo Ríos wasn’t someone I got on particularly well with when I was playing, although he’s definitely mellowed since he stopped playing.”


Reaching the heady heights at the top of his game wasn’t something that fell into Tim’s lap. Like most successful sportsmen, hard work and determination have a large part to play: “The challenges of the game are enormous, with the three major elements being technical, physical and mental ability. There are many other sports where you probably could pass with two out of the three, but in tennis you’ve got to be strong in all areas. Being a global game, the competition is fierce and the standards just keep getting better and better. Likewise, the relentlessness of the circuit is all encompassing – you start the first week in January and if you’re good enough to qualify for the World Tour finals, you probably finish your last tournament in the middle of November. It’s a full on busy schedule and a big challenge.”


time when I was six. It was then that I saw Björn Borg play and I made my one and only career decision. Tennis was never my job, it was what I aspired to do.”


By the age of 21, Tim had reached British No. 1, a title he regained at the age of 24 in 1999 and held until 2005. Tim’s landmark career also included 15 career ATP titles and 6 Grand Slam semi-final wins. Although hometown glory was not where his heart was: “I was much more focused on the titles I was winning internationally and where I was ranking on a global stage. The strength and depth of British tennis has been pretty average, with the exception of some game changers along the way – Greg Rusedski was a world-class player and gave me more competition on the home front. Overall, I would have


Notoriety follows such success, yet as a sportsman, fame is not something Tim courted. He says: “Playing in the biggest and best tournaments around the world against the best players was what motivated me. I never paid a great deal of attention to the relenting pressure from the public and the media. That was something I had little control over. I concentrated on my job, which was the preparation and performance. Playing on home turf at Wimbledon – the biggest and best tournament in the world – was just the most incredible experience. I loved it and always said if I could have played my whole career on one court, it would have been Centre Court at Wimbledon.”


Turning to focus on today’s tennis landscape, Tim talks of the sorry state of grassroots tennis here in the UK: “Grassroots is a huge challenge. When you look at the state of sport here in this country, participation is going down. This is hugely disappointing as it is vital that we ensure young players have


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