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November 1, 2000

Tim Henman


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Another good win. You must have been pretty pleased with the way you played out there.

TIM HENMAN: Yes, very much so. I was a little bit, in a way, a bit apprehensive coming into the match. I felt like in practice I was struggling a little bit with the way the ball was flying, because I think it's a pretty slow court here, but I think the ball goes through the air quite quickly. I knew that I'd have to make sure that I cut out a lot of unforced errors and serve well. That's exactly what I did. I felt like I was creating a lot of opportunities on his serve. I was moving particularly well along the baseline, still managing to get forward. That's the balance I need in my game.

Q. Do you think it's a pretty fair court because of the balance of the ball moving fast?

TIM HENMAN: I think so, yeah. I haven't really watched too many other matches. You know, I felt like when Costa was dictating the rally, he looked perfectly comfortable on the baseline. The score line kind of indicates a pretty one-sided match. I felt like the second set was probably a bit closer than 6-3, two breaks suggest.

Q. Were you deliberately intending today to go out there and stamp your authority right from the word "go"?

TIM HENMAN: You like to do that in every match that you play. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I felt like I was, you know, hitting the ball very well right from the word "go."

Q. Almost as if you were challenging him, "Try and pass me"?

TIM HENMAN: I think you don't want to get into a baseline duel with someone like Costa. I played a great game to break him to get up a break. Credit to him, the game that he broke me, hit a couple great passing shots. I don't think I made too many mistakes in that game. But again, you know, I knew what my tactics were. I stuck to that game plan, and it did work out really well.

Q. The break at 4-3 in the second set, you played a baseline game with a clay court player.

TIM HENMAN: I think it's not necessarily clay court tennis, but it helps. I feel like my movement is probably the biggest asset there. When I'm getting run around from side to side, I feel like I'm getting to the ball quickly, you know, playing very consistently. I had to wait for my opportunity in that rally. It was a big point, especially in the context of having Love-40 in the last game and not breaking. You know, you want to try and get that opportunity. I played a pretty long rally, you know, sort of probing for that short ball, got the short one, moved up to it, finished the point off well. That's what breeds confidence.

Q. How will you play Hewitt? Go for him the say way?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. Again, you have to get that balance right. There's no point in just trying to out-rally him from the baseline, but there's no point in just coming in on junk - you know, he's going to pass you. Again, I need to get that balance right. I'm going to have to play well because, you know, he's a very, very good player.

Q. Have you played him since Scottsdale final?

TIM HENMAN: No, that's the only time we've played.

Q. In the context of qualifying for Lisbon, it's a huge match.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, definitely. It is a big match, I think more so for myself, because there is a definite gap between me and the next four or five. It's a good opportunity. It's a good chance to deny him some more points and for me to pick up points. But again, I'm not going to approach the match thinking about race points or whatever. I've got to go out there and play my own game, see what happens.

Q. If you were being totally realistic, what would you give your chances of Lisbon at the moment?

TIM HENMAN: I'm definite underdog. You know, the next four -- I think the top four are pretty much qualified. The next five are very, very close together.

Q. Agassi is in come what may.

TIM HENMAN: Exactly. I'm not going to say -- difficult to put sort of a percentage on it. You know, I'm up against it. Having said that, I don't feel like I've got anything to lose. It's not like if I don't make Lisbon, then it's not like I failed, because I couldn't be happier with where my game is right now. No question, I'll be doing everything I can to try and qualify, see what happens. Three more events. Give it my best shot.

Q. It's like the scoring in tennis itself. The points are still there. Doesn't matter how far behind you are, the points are still there.

TIM HENMAN: So many points to play for. If tomorrow doesn't go according to plan, it's still a great opportunity in Paris. You know, suddenly you win a tournament, everything can change. I think Cincinnati, I was in 17th, 18th position, and I needed to make a move. Suddenly I make the final, and all of a sudden I'm up into the Top 10.

Q. When you played with Hewitt in Scottsdale, did you actually have set points in that second set?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know if I had set points. I had points for a double break, I think. I was definitely quite a long way up in the second set and didn't take advantage.

Q. 4-2, 5-2.

TIM HENMAN: I think I was up 4-1, 15-40 or something. I may well have been up 5-2, as well.

Q. Is this a place where you feel you've never really done yourself justice?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, definitely. I've never played very well here. I think the first time I played, I lost to Edberg pretty easily. I played horrendously last year. I lost to Gambill in a pretty close match. I lost to Bjorkman in another pretty ordinary match. So, yeah, I haven't really played particularly well here.

Q. Why is that? You like indoors.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I think I've struggled with the --.

Q. -- altitude?

TIM HENMAN: Is it altitude?

Q. It's about a thousand feet up.

TIM HENMAN: I think that has something to do with it. In the past, I don't think I've really made that adjustment. I've probably tried to be a little bit too aggressive. You can't play the same way as you did in Vienna and Basel where you could really just take the ball on every time because it was so heavy. Here it's much lighter, so you have to be very much in control of each and every shot. But, no, I feel like I'm definitely the best prepared I have been at this event.

Q. And yet you played some cracking tennis at Munich in the Grand Slam Cup.


Q. Which is even more altitude.

TIM HENMAN: I've played some very good tennis at altitude in the past. There's no reason why I can't. It's never really happened for me here. I think this will be the year when it does improve.

Q. Any comments on Agassi's shorts? JR was taken by Agassi's shorts and had some questions for him.

TIM HENMAN: What were his shorts?

Q. Tight.

TIM HENMAN: A bit cozy, were they?

Q. You could see the muscle definition.

TIM HENMAN: The what?

Q. The muscle definition. Actually, there was another serious point. The point I was making was that suddenly, there's Agassi, the guy who has always been the leader in fashion statements for years and years and years, the baggy shorts.

TIM HENMAN: He's gone back.

Q. Suddenly the ATP decided to change the stick man just at the moment that he appears with these.

TIM HENMAN: He's one step ahead of the game, isn't he?

Q. Greg has tight shorts, as well.

TIM HENMAN: He's gone back to some cozy numbers.

Q. Won't ask to you comment on that.

TIM HENMAN: Keep my mouth shut.

End of FastScripts….

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