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August 30, 2002

Tim Henman


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Considering the kind of start with the rain and frustrations, you must be happy to have gotten it out of the way in the manner you did?

TIM HENMAN: Definitely. There was a lot of uncertainty at the beginning. It's difficult to get any sort of rhythm when you're going on and off the whole time. It's tough to get rhythm against a player of his style. I think the first set was always going to be pretty important, so I was obviously pleased with the return game I played at 4-3. You know, after I got the first set under my belt, I felt pretty comfortable out there.

Q. How does the shoulder feel now?

TIM HENMAN: It's sort of more fatigued, I think. It just, as the match progresses, it just sort of feels like it stiffens up and gets pretty tight in and around my shoulder. So, again, I think, you know, it's important that I make sure that I do the right things with the icing and a lot of stretching to make sure it's as loose as possible.

Q. Do you feel there's a limit to how far the shoulder will let you go in this tournament?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. I'm just going to have to, you know - as you always do - take one match at a time. We'll just have to see, you know, how it does react if I get into a very long match. I feel it will be -- I feel like it should be okay when I'm playing. I would say the concern is the recovery.

Q. Your best result at the US Open is the fourth round. What do you think about that?

TIM HENMAN: I don't think it's good enough really for someone of my ability, and certainly that the way my game is suited to this type of surface. You know, I'm trying to improve that this year.

Q. If you rewind to a week ago when you were having sort of major problems with your shoulder, if someone had said to you, "You're going to win both matches in straight sets..."?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I would have definitely taken it. There was a lot of uncertainty, I think. A week ago I didn't really know how it would react when I really had to push it. I felt like it's obviously made a lot of improvements. It's got a lot better. But I suppose there is still somewhat of an unknown, as I said, if I have to play a really long match.

Q. I know this might sound a bit silly, when you come here from Grandstand, do you let somebody else carry your bags?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I like the sound of it (smiling). No, underneath the court where we were, there's four or five sort of small waiting rooms.

Q. Initially, you do walk all the way across with the bag on your shoulder?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, yeah. I feel like I've learned my lesson from Miami, really. So my left shoulder does a lot more of the work these days.

Q. Caddies for tennis players.


Q. Chela is your next opponent.


Q. How do you feel about it?

TIM HENMAN: It's definitely going to be a step up. You know, he's a quality opponent and he's playing very well on hardcourts this year. I think he made the final last week. I practiced with him a little bit in Cincinnati and he was playing really, really well. But, again, I think my game does match up well against him. It is going to put my serve and my shoulder under, you know, quite a lot of scrutiny, if that's the right word. You know, I'm not going to start changing my approach, because I think I've been -- you know, I've been pretty relaxed on the court. I'm just going to take it as it comes. If I play well and everything holds up, then I think I've got a good chance. If my shoulder suddenly, you know, blows up, then so be it.

Q. Would you expect to serve and volley a bit more against him than today?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I just felt like playing someone like Norman, he's capable of, you know, flashing a couple of returns past me. I felt like if I was just playing consistently and solidly, it was certainly in my favor if we got into those baseline rallies. I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well and I was able to exploit his movement or lack of it. But against Chela, that's, you know, that has to be revised because you know he is very, very strong from the baseline.

Q. Must have felt pretty sweet. I don't know how many lobs you hit over a guy 6'8", but quite a few?

TIM HENMAN: He's got such a good reach. As some of those guys are, they're prone to getting very tight on the net. Even though he is so tall, it doesn't always have to be the best lob. Certainly you get a few over his head early on, it puts a bit of doubt in his mind. I think overall, I was, you know, I was pretty pleased with the returning. I felt like if I could make enough balls, put him under some sort of pressure, he was vulnerable.

Q. Have the doctors assured you you're not going to do more damage to your shoulder?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I'm 99.9% sure. I suppose you could do damage to a knee or an ankle or whatever. So I think with this related - with this problem, you know, I'm not going to do any drastic damage. But it's certainly, you know, it's not something you want to keep playing with on and on. That is when you might start having some serious problems.

Q. That said, as soon as this is done here, there's a Davis Cup match coming up.


Q. A sensible player would rest an injury like that.

TIM HENMAN: Well, there's still, you know, fingers crossed, you know... If I were to have a great run here and get through to the final, I would still, you know, be able to rest for seven or eight days. I think going indoors, I don't need to practice a great deal. So I think there's plenty of time. But, again, we'll just have to wait and see.

Q. Will you come in for treatment tomorrow and then practice?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. It was -- I didn't practice yesterday, but I came in and spent a lot of time getting treatment. I was treated twice and then doing a lot of sort of stretching on my own. Definitely I'll come in and keep that pattern going.

Q. Is it a heat treatment?

TIM HENMAN: No, it's more -- I mean, to begin with, you sort of warm it up and then go through a lot of stretching to try and make it as flexible as possible. But then there's, you know, ultrasound and stim, that type of thing, to try and get rid of the inflammation.

Q. You mentioned after your first match that the mindset that you've got when you're carrying an injury that's potentially going to blow up during the match is that you just almost don't let anything else distract you, you've got enough on your mind?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I think, as I said, when I was in Cincinnati and having lost there and then before Indianapolis, you know, I was practicing a lot - practicing, you know, two, three hours a day. Really working on my game. But, you know, I felt in that practice that, you know, sometimes I was getting a little bit critical and almost getting too analytical in my game. All of a sudden, I got through the match in Indianapolis and then I wasn't able to practice for seven, eight days. It totally changed my mindset. Suddenly, I wasn't even interested in the way I was playing, I was just interested in whether my shoulder was getting better. Suddenly I would spend 40 minutes on the court hitting balls and trying to test out my shoulder with no emphasis on the way I was playing. I was hitting the ball twice as well as I was when I was practicing three hours a day.

Q. So the not practicing yesterday, was that a deliberate thing or because of the rain?

TIM HENMAN: It was more because of the rain. I was going to come in and hit some balls and certainly not overdo it, but, you know, I expect to come in and practice tomorrow.

End of FastScripts….

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