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March 12, 1999

Tim Henman


GREG SHARKO: First question for Tim.

Q. That must be a pretty hard one to take, having played so well to get back into a match the way you did, get match point and it slips away that way.

TIM HENMAN: Exactly that. You know, I felt really well to start turning things around because he was dominating things early on, playing great tennis. You know, I used my head a lot. I mixed up my serving. Mixed up the pace on the baseline, kept being aggressive. I've done everything right. Going down Love-40 when I serve for it, and still got myself to match point. Then to serve a double, yeah, it's a tough one to take.

Q. How hard is it to kind of be on the back foot for as long as you were? You have to keep battling back from difficult positions?

TIM HENMAN: I lose the first set 6-1, I'm 5-Love down, but I could have been 4-1 up if I win four points. That's the way I was looking at it. I was up against it. He was playing great. You lose the first set 6-Love or you lose it 7-6, you're still a set down. Started fresh in the second, held on to a couple of big games on my serve. You know, just fought hard. That's what you've got to do, you've got to compete. My game definitely then improved. You're in a dogfight in the third set; it's anyone's match. Again, I gave myself the opportunity, but today I couldn't take it.

Q. Yesterday you served for the match, and you got down Love-40. Today you find yourself in the same situation. What were you thinking today?

TIM HENMAN: "I've done it once, I can do it again." From pretty much the end of the first set, I really picked up my serving. I mixed it up a lot more today. I had to against a guy that's returning that well. You can't give him rhythm. I was varying the pace, varying where I was serving. I was playing pretty smart. I think the first point is always important. Dug up a good volley and lost my footing. That's a little unsettling. Next one, he paints the line with a pass, suddenly I was down Love-40. It's tough. I gave myself the opportunity. At that stage, I continued to do what I had been doing. On the first serve, I put it in the tape. If that goes over, he's in trouble. But it wasn't to be.

Q. Certainly liked the pace early on?

TIM HENMAN: Didn't seem to matter too much what I did. He was very aggressive.

Perhaps it surprises some people. I don't think it really surprises me because I saw him play Toronto, where he won, some of his results before that. He's a class player. He's now back in the group playing matches. I don't think it will be long before he gets back up to where he was 18 months ago.

Q. Do you think it's more difficult to get into a quarterfinal in an event this prestigious, suddenly play someone you've never played before?

TIM HENMAN: No. There are loads of guys I haven't played before. I've practiced with him before, I know his game pretty well. I don't think that has any relevance. But, sure, when a guy comes up as well as he did, it's going to be difficult for anyone. As I said, there's not a lot you can take out of a match like that because it's winning and losing. The winning bit is the important bit. I did turn it around very well.

Q. You might not want to answer this, but if you were Gullikson, would you pick Woodruff over Jan-Michael and Courier?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. It's a difficult one. In my opinion, probably not. I think Courier and Gambill have played a lot more matches. I think if we were playing on this surface, I think his chances would be greater. But I think on indoors, maybe it doesn't suit him so much. Glad it's not my decision.

Q. You think experience is a big factor?

TIM HENMAN: I think in Davis Cup, it is.

Q. How much does a defeat in the way that happened take away the elation of the win you obviously enjoyed yesterday?

TIM HENMAN: It does. Losing doesn't get any easier. The less it happens, the better. A couple of days, a few rounds of golf, maybe I'll look back and realize that I am hitting the ball well, I am confident, you know, I can continue to build from this. At the moment, you're just not interested in tennis.

End of FastScripts....

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