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August 15, 2005

Tim Henman


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Henman. We'll open the floor for questions, please.

Q. That was much better today.

TIM HENMAN: A much better result, yeah, don't get me wrong. I mean, it hasn't been easy the last couple of weeks, but, you know, an important factor is I've actually been hitting the ball well. For a set and a half against Hrbaty last week, you know, I played pretty much the same type of tennis but wasn't able to quite finish it off, and that was frustrating. But I knew that, you know, if I kept doing the right things, as I've done on the practice court, then, you know, the results would come. And, you know, it's only one win, but it definitely means a lot to me.

Q. Did you get a sense early on that he wasn't quite at his best today?

TIM HENMAN: I just -- I mean, I know. I've played him enough and I know from -- a lot of the guys have said that, you know, he doesn't enjoy playing against my style. And so certainly I just needed to really try and be the one that was dictating play because, you know, he still can be dangerous if you let him play. He's got a big serve and he's got a great forehand. So as long as I could be aggressive and take his time away, I felt like that would pay off. Having said that, he was the one with the first chance. If he breaks my serve to go up 2-1, then it can have a different feel to the match. But, you know, once I got on top, then I think I, you know, learnt my lesson from last week to be more even more aggressive.

Q. Is it a good or a bad thing to have spent so much time on the practice court as you have recently?

TIM HENMAN: I'd much rather be on the match court. But, you know, I'm a big believer that the work that you put in will pay off, and it's just a question of when that will be. As I said, after Wimbledon, when I got back to training, you know, I'd been working and practicing and training as well as I'd done in many years. And so it was one of the first things Paul said was, you know, You're going to have to be patient. Doesn't mean that you're going to play -- going to have the results that you want straightaway. You know, likewise. Just winning my first round, it's just one win, but I'm going to keep building from it because I do feel, you know, physically I feel in great shape. I feel like I'm moving very, very well, and I'm hitting the ball well.

Q. So it could work in your favor?

TIM HENMAN: Well, it's -- you know, as I said, you'd much rather be winning matches, but I know that I've continued to work very, very hard. And, you know, whether it's in, you know, a week, a month, or six months, this will pay off. The results will get better and better; I'm confident of that.

Q. You said that you started hitting the ball very well at practice. What was it, something technical?

TIM HENMAN: No, just having had a break. It's not like I've been hitting the ball horrendously. But after Wimbledon I felt I needed to, you know, have a break and get away from the game and, you know, recharge my batteries mentally and physically. Then when I came back to start training I felt very, very refreshed, and that was good because for seven or eight months with a few different issues, I don't think that that had been the case.

Q. You say recharge your batteries. How do you do that?

TIM HENMAN: Just, you know, rest. Not training, not practicing, away from tennis, spending time with my family.

Q. How long did you rest?

TIM HENMAN: I had probably a couple of weeks, yeah, two and a half weeks where I really didn't do anything, which I think is a long time. I did a few little things just for my back because that's been an ongoing thing. But as far as, you know, anything serious, tennis or training, nothing at all. With the amount that we play and, you know, the length of the seasons and how many years I've been doing that, you can certainly benefit from it, and I think that was the case for me.

Q. Roger goes to Dubai, he wants to be away from Switzerland. What is your way of rest, leaving the country, staying?

TIM HENMAN: No, I was at home with my family. We went away just for a week in Italy. But, no, I, you know, enjoy being at home. It was nice to go away with friends but then, you know, I was happy again -- by that time I was happy to get back and start practicing again.

Q. Paul Annacone had contacted New Haven about your interest in playing there. Where are you in that whole process?

TIM HENMAN: It's kind of up in the air, you know. At the moment I'll concentrate on this week, and then depending on my results, then I can assess whether I feel it's necessary to, you know, go and play that extra week. But as I've said, at the moment, you know, I'll just keep concentrating on this one.

Q. You feel if you get two pretty good matches in here, that should be enough?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. I mean, I do feel good about my game, but I'll just see, see what happens on Wednesday. I don't think anyone's in a rush to make that decision.

Q. I know you don't forget how to win matches, but was today a relief?

TIM HENMAN: It's nice to win. It's much more fun winning than losing, don't get me wrong. But I felt, you know, when you've lost two first-round matches, it's not an ideal situation, but I still felt, you know, very confident. Because if, you know, you're struggling with your game and you can't control the ball or you've got no rhythm on your serve, then it's more cause for concern. But as I said, my game, my game's in good shape. And so it was just a question of being very, very patient and strong with myself mentally not to get frustrated if things hadn't gone my way, but just to keep working hard.

Q. What are you like in terms of keeping patient?

TIM HENMAN: I think in terms of my practice and training, I've been very good. But sometimes it's easy to let that type of frustration creep into your matches. I think, you know, upon reflection, I probably got a little bit down in the third set against Hrbaty after dominating the match instead of kind of saying "Well, you know, I've been playing great and things didn't go my way at the end of the second set, but I'll continue in the third," whereas I think I let him, you know, dictate a little bit too much.

Q. You said last week that when you analyzed Wimbledon, there were lots of tiny little things that you wanted to take away. Is it possible to say what any of them are?

TIM HENMAN: Just, yeah, you know, talking about the balls and the courts and stuff. You know, I was honest, but did it do me any favors? No, I don't think it did. I think it just gave a negative angle for the press to talk about.

Q. You regret that?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, in hindsight. In hindsight. But, you know, at the end of the day I felt like I was being honest, and I still think I'm right in what I was saying. But there was probably an example of, you know, so many times over the years I just haven't bothered saying anything, and that would have probably been an occasion to continue with that. But, you know, I'm just trying to think what other, you know, little issues there have been. My form, I think the number of matches that I have played, the sort of lack of rhythm into my game, I think the overall -- my overall sort of, if I'm being really critical, the sort of level of my, you know, overall fitness, I don't think that I'd had the opportunity to put in the amount of work that gives you that base. So there are probably half a dozen little things. It only takes it to drop a couple percent in each area and the cumulative effect has an impact on your game.

Q. Do you feel you really have to bite your tongue because you are so heavily scrutinized in Britain?

TIM HENMAN: Not necessarily, but I just think, you know, mountains are made out of molehills. And so you fall into a difficult -- you fall into a predicament because you sometimes feel like you want to say something and you're going to be honest, but it's not going to do yourself any favors. Then you end up having to give pretty mundane answers to a lot of things, and then on the flip side of that then you're boring, then you're dull. But I think where I've always done a pretty good job over the years is knowing that, you know, their opinions are not really the most important. But, you know, that's something that you have to learn to deal with. It's always going to be there.

Q. How would you sum up 2005 for you? You haven't had a lot of big results. Has it been a frustrating year?

TIM HENMAN: No. It's been pretty difficult. I think there's been frustration, yeah. It's been difficult. I haven't, you know -- at times I haven't really been playing my best tennis, and at times I haven't been allowed to play my best tennis. I think the first probably three months of the year my back was a big factor. And then, you know, at times I played pretty well in Miami to, you know, lose in the quarters to Federer. I played some good tennis on the clay at times. But there's just -- I've really lacked the rhythm. It's just been a little bit stop-start. That's where, you know, the first half of the year has been difficult. But there's no reason why the second half can't improve a great deal, and I feel I've got every opportunity of that being the case because I've now had the chance to put in some good work both, you know, on the track, in the gym, and on the practice court, and that had probably been lacking a little bit.

Q. Are you 100% now, or are you worried something could go wrong?

TIM HENMAN: No, no, I feel 100%.

Q. You've had some good matches here, too. Presumably it always helps to come back to somewhere where you can remember that.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, you just sort of have that -- it gives you an extra sort of comfort zone almost. You just feel confident, you feel like, you know, you time the ball a bit better. I just didn't -- to a certain extent I didn't really feel that last week although, you know, I was hitting the ball well. There's almost that feeling of, from a mental point of view, that you just, you know -- some weeks sit better than others. But, no, as I said, this definitely feels very comfortable, and hopefully that's going to reflect in my results.

Q. You've been here a number of years. What things do you remember doing in Cincinnati? Have you gone to see anything or gone to the amusement park?

TIM HENMAN: Not a lot. Yeah, I've been to the amusement park a few times and played a few different golf courses. But, no, the most important thing is what's going to happen on the court. When you're playing well and winning matches, obviously I've been through to the semis and the final here, then that's what's going to dominate things. If you haven't done so well, then you're going to move on to the next week.

Q. Is the surface a little bit faster than in Montreal?

TIM HENMAN: Uh-uh. No, I think it's slower. Montreal was quick. I think it's dictated a little bit by the temperature as well. Today was cooler; it makes it a bit slower.

Q. Have you had a chance to speak to Andy?

TIM HENMAN: No, I haven't. No, I mean, I think he got in late last night and I was here at sort of quarter to nine. So I haven't seen him yet, but I'm sure we'll meet up.

Q. How have you judged his efforts this summer?

TIM HENMAN: Oh, it's been fantastic, yeah. He's played phenomenally well. I haven't seen him play a match, but just looking at the results, he's been out there playing pretty much every week. I think that's great. He's winning a lot of matches. This is a big bonus for him. As I said to the guys at SKY, he'll have to put Paul Flory on his Christmas list because it's a great opportunity in a Masters Series.

End of FastScripts….

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