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March 11, 2003

Tim Henman


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. How about the last game of your match, the way you closed it out, happy with that?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, definitely. Didn't want a repeat performance of the first set. Yeah, I mean, at this stage, it's amazing how, you know, good a first-round win can feel because it hasn't been easy. But I just feel I've worked very, very hard, you know, on the practice court and mentally just to keep doing the right things. You know, certainly you're not going to get carried away with one win, but it is a start.

Q. Outwardly, there didn't seem to be a great show of emotion.

TIM HENMAN: To be playing someone like him, sort of opposite ends of the confidence spectrum. He's coming off a tournament win; I haven't had a single win. You know, it wasn't going to be easy. But when I look at the way I played the match, I think when you're not confident, you've got to do the simple things well. And when I got my shot selection right, took the ball cross-court, I didn't mismatch. When I had the opportunity to chip and charge, I chipped and charged, came in well. It's when suddenly my decision making is bad, then I suddenly start taking balls up the line, and that's when I miss. That is a confidence thing. I served very, very consistently. When I eventually got some chances -- you know, I had a good spell at the end of the first set, beginning of the second set, and that kind of was the crux of the match.

Q. Even before that wobble in the last game of the first set, you were serving well. That wasn't a problem?


Q. And you were starting to be clearly focusing on the next point all the time.


Q. You were timing when you were attacking him quite well.

TIM HENMAN: It's exactly that. A couple of times, you know, I'd create a Love-15 or a 15-30, and that's when, you know, again, your decision making has to be good. To begin with, I didn't think it was particularly good. Those were the times when suddenly, when a shot wasn't really on, I suddenly looked for that easy option, and that's when you give away a cheap point. Certainly when you haven't been winning and you haven't been playing matches, that's what you cannot afford to do. As the first set got on, and throughout the second set, I was very, very consistent, moving well, began to string together a little bit more consistency.

Q. As you got kind of closer and closer to the finishing line, so to speak, does it become a little strange because you haven't won for so long?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Do you have to clear different thoughts?

TIM HENMAN: Again, it goes back to doing the simple things well. Even in my doubles yesterday, we played pretty well yesterday, we were up a set and a break, and I was thinking at the change of ends, 5-2, I was honestly thinking to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice to break serve now?" I knew I was serving the next game. Then I thought to myself, "Well, you know, no, no, I'm playing this doubles to help my singles. Let's put yourself under a little bit of pressure." Again, I was tight serving out a doubles match. I did a good job then. You know, likewise today, in the second set, I'm looking for the comfort of a second break. But, again, when I had to serve for the match, I wanted to make sure that I did the simple things - made first serves, made life easy for myself.

Q. Presumably even that win in the doubles helped.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, exactly. I'm not one to get too excited about doubles matches. But certainly to get any type of win at that stage was good for one's confidence. No doubt, no doubt helped me for my singles today. In the short-term, I'll definitely be playing singles and doubles.

Q. Did you think about your shoulder at all?

TIM HENMAN: No, no, not the slightest thought during the match today.

Q. Which is the first time since when?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I mean, there were some thoughts in Dubai. We had that sort of break in the match. You know, realistically, to play without any thoughts and just a hundred percent focused on the match, it goes back to probably, you know, my match against Nalbandian in Toronto, maybe Kuerten in Cincinnati. It has been a long, long time.

Q. Has there been a slight remodeling of the service action? It looks a little bit more compact.

TIM HENMAN: I think I talked about having my feet a little closer together. I think then at times I was getting, you know, almost too much movement, then you sometimes don't go back; you just immediately go forward. An aspect has been to try and make sure that my momentum is going up into the court rather than just sliding backwards and forwards. But, no, I'm pretty happy with the way, you know, I served today. I wouldn't say it's particularly easy. The balls are pretty light, so it feels like it's going quick through the air, but coming off the court quite slowly, so you can get a lot of bounce, a lot of kick on the ball. On the whole, I thought, you know, I served okay.

Q. What about the next round? Another Argentine.

TIM HENMAN: It's incredible, isn't it?

Q. One tournament to another.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, they've got so many players now. He's another good one. He probably won't play a dissimilar game to Gambill in some sort of respects. Jan-Michael comes in a little bit more. But he's just going to hit the ball hard, serve hard, strikes the ball well off both wings. I wouldn't have thought he'll come to the net. I think it's my job to try and keep the rallies a little on the shorter side and keep being aggressive, get forward. It's good to be coming back to play again tomorrow.

Q. Do your expectations change a bit now?

TIM HENMAN: Again, you take confidence from it. But, again, you're not going to get carried away with one win. But it is a start. Certainly take the positives and try and build on it. If I can do that, then, again, you take it one step further. If it doesn't go my way, then, you know, again, you've got to keep building and keep working on the right things. It is, it's pretty sort of elementary stages at the moment where you are. On such a short-term basis, it really is day to day and match to match.

Q. You'll have a singles and doubles tomorrow.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I suppose that's another test tomorrow. Six sets a possibility. I definitely feel ready for it.

Q. You and Pete Sampras are very good friends on the tour. Have you had any opportunity to talk to him?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I've spoken to him a few times, probably three or four times, during, you know, December, after we had our baby, then after he had his. I spoke to him in January. You know, I can't exactly say I know what his decision is going to be. On one side of the coin, if he doesn't play, he's certainly earned his retirement, if he doesn't feel the desire to. I think everybody can understand why that is. You know, I don't think he's playing Miami.

Q. No, he pulled out.

TIM HENMAN: In my opinion, I'd be surprised to see him on a clay court. I may be wrong. Perhaps Wimbledon will be the incentive again. But who knows. Your guess is as good as mine.

Q. If you were in his situation, what would you do?

TIM HENMAN: I think I'd come back to Wimbledon. I think just the way things were for him last year at Wimbledon is not really the way he wants to go out. Having said that, if he doesn't play again, how is he leaving the game? He's leaving as US Open champion, incredible circumstances. I don't think he has a lot to lose either way for him.

Q. Would you be sad if he wouldn't come back?

TIM HENMAN: I think, yeah, it would be sad not to see him for one last time. But, again, when you've achieved as much as he has, is there anything else left to do?

Q. Getting back to yourself and the early stages of your return, has there been an element of frustration? If so, are you having to try to keep a lid on it?

TIM HENMAN: I wouldn't say frustration yet. But, again, I think I've sort of been honest and realistic that, you know, there could be a few bumps in the road and things might not go exactly as I want sort of performance and results-wise. When I've seen other people come back from injuries, you certainly can appreciate that you've got to make sure that you don't get frustrated because it's not going to do you any good. As long as I'm, you know, healthy and my shoulder is still strong, that is the most important thing. It changes your perspective when you've had an injury. As I said, it's been over six months since I last played pain-free, just concentrating on my shoulder. So this is sort of important early steps.

End of FastScripts….

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