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January 24, 2004

Tim Henman


THE MODERATOR: First question for Tim.

Q. That must be a bit of a cruel one to take?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, it is. It was probably a good match for you guys to watch. But right now, so soon after it, it's about winning and losing. And, you know, unfortunately I came up just short. So there isn't -- there's probably not a whole lot of constructive things I've got to say at the moment.

Q. As you say, it's very quick after the match, but where do you think the difference came in the end?

TIM HENMAN: There's obviously very little difference, as the score line suggests. But, you know, all credit to him. You know, when he was behind in the fifth, he came up with some great shots. He hit some great running passing shots to break back at 4-2. And right through the match, you know, he was running a lot of balls down, you know, hit some great returns, you know, hit a lot of lobs which were very effective, a difficult shot in the wind. You know, all credit to him. He competed extremely well, as he always does. And two sets to love down, he hung in there and was able to squeak through.

Q. Would you rate him as the hardest player to push away that you've had to play?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. I mean, it's difficult to sort of judge something like that. But at this level, we all compete pretty well because, you know, this is what we want to do, and we want to achieve. If you're not motivated and you're not competing a hundred percent, then you're going to come up much shorter.

Q. Going back to Goran at Wimbledon.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, it's too early to sort of make judgments like that. But it's pretty disappointing.

Q. Is this the longest uninterrupted match you've played?

TIM HENMAN: I think so, yeah.

Q. Is the disappointment perhaps all the greater because at times the levels of tennis you played were so good?

TIM HENMAN: I mean, it would be interesting to sort of look at some of the stats of the match. And they were coming up on the score board from time to time. I think at one stage, I saw I'd hit 96 winners and, you know, stuff like that. That's a lot of winners to hit to lose. But, you know, it's a pretty bitter pill to swallow. I think having, you know, lost a couple of tight ones to him, you know, I lost a tight one to him in Paris in the third round, these are the types of matches that you've got to find a way to get through. You know, he did, and I didn't.

Q. Did you attempt to face a fifth set, starting over again, having lost those two sets, with the...?

TIM HENMAN: I think my attitude and my approach was very, very consistent throughout. You know, as it was, it's pretty clear for everyone to see my tactics and the way I wanted to play. You know, I think that was very consistent throughout five sets. And for the first two sets, you know, I was able to win a couple of important points. You know, that was probably the difference. You know, then in the next two, he won a couple of critical points. And that was probably the difference. I mean, I don't think you can read into it, you know, a great deal. I think it would be pretty easy to overanalyze something like this. You know, we played a good match. And, you know, unfortunately he was the winner.

Q. At 4-1, did you sense that you had the ascendency?

TIM HENMAN: I mean, that's stating the obvious, isn't it? If you're 4-1 up in the fifth, you're obviously in the ascendency. But, you know, a professional player knows that it's certainly not over. And that's -- as I said, I think I was 15-Love up and he hit a return winner down the line, you know, hit a great forehand pass and a good backhand pass. You know, all credit to him. That's the shots that he was able to come up with.

Q. Do you feel you did anything at all wrong tonight?

TIM HENMAN: I lost, yeah. And I think, as I said, where, you know, I've tried to sort of articulate - if that's the right word - as much as possible what I'm trying to do. You know, I'm sure in a couple of days' time there will be some good points to take out of it. You know, right now there isn't. There isn't really. There isn't really that chance to sort of take a step back and reflect on it because it's so soon after.

Q. What was that strange situation with the balls all about? What was going on?

TIM HENMAN: Well, it might have been new balls. They only put three in. So we had three new ones and three old ones. We played the first one with I think the old set.

Q. Presumably you will be able to take some comfort from the commitment to the way you played, the thing that you've been talking about.

TIM HENMAN: I hope so, yeah. I hope so. I think, as I said, in a couple of days when I do sort of reflect on it, there will be some positives. But, you know, we'll just have to wait, see how long it is.

Q. What was it that Paul said to you?

TIM HENMAN: Nothing.

End of FastScripts….

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