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September 6, 1998

Tim Henman

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Interesting third set.

TIM HENMAN: Interesting match, yeah. I mean, mentally, it's painful out there. It's really, really difficult conditions. But it's all about getting through. You know, at times out there you want to give yourself a margin for error. I felt like my margin for error was about six feet in the court. When you're aim for the service box, that doessn't leave you much to aim at Yeah, it was really difficult. I stuck to my guns. I had a game plan. I knew if I could just make, you know, put enough pressure on making enough approach shots at the right time, I thought it would pay off, and it did.

Q. Did the danger bell not ring at all in that third set?

TIM HENMAN: Not really. I think the second set was pretty key. I was able to come back from 4-1. You know, that was key to be up two sets to love. But, sure, the wheels fell off for a little -- for a while. Prefer to be two sets to one up than two sets to one down. There was regrouping at the beginning of the fourth. I definitely started to make more first serves, volleyed a little bit better. Got there in the end, but it was a relief.

Q. You mentioned the conditions were tough out there. The wind was obviously one factor.

TIM HENMAN: I think the wind was one of the distractions. I think it was really, really bright today. In the previous two matches, there's always been a bit of cloud cover. There was a real glare on the court. The wind's just coming from all directions. You know, there are times when you think you're serving into the wind, and then suddenly as you throw the ball up, you're downwind. That's why it makes it so difficult. You know, I think I got the job done, A, in difficult conditions, and B, playing pretty ordinary tennis, pretty ugly tennis at times.

Q. Was your mind set in the fourth set just to get to the net as soon as you could?

TIM HENMAN: At times. You have to be a bit more selective than that. But first serves were going to be a key. They weren't easy. But I think I tried to aim more at the body to give myself that margin for error. You know, you keep your swings short. Yeah, you're right, get to the net when you could. In the last game, I wouldn't have fancied really serving the match out, so it was nice to break the way I did.

Q. Do you adjust your ball toss in conditions like, throw it a little less high?

TIM HENMAN: You don't want to throw it any lower, but I think you try and keep your swing compact. You don't want to get too long. That's when I think you can have some problems. But I went out actually and hit for about another 10 or 15 minutes afterwards just to try and get some rhythm back while it's sort of fresh in your mind. It's easy to go out in a couple hours' time when you've relaxed. But to go out straightaway, hit some groundstrokes, hit some serves, I think gets the rhythm back a little bit.

Q. Who did you hit with?

TIM HENMAN: Just David.

Q. Had you ever heard of him before?


Q. What do you think about his game?

TIM HENMAN: You know, in this game if you're inside the top 150, you obviously know what you're doing. I think it's fair to say that I've lost to a lot of lower-ranked guys than him. He's won five matches. Today was his sixth. He's obviously confident with his game. I think his backhand was better than his forehand, so I tried to attack his forehand as much as I could. But, you know, he played a pretty good match. Won the first set, 4-1 up in the second, won the third easily. I think it's fair to say he had his chances. But I took mine.

Q. Whoever your opponent is, obviously going to be of more stature than this guy. Will a slight struggle today have any relevance by the time you walk out on the court?

TIM HENMAN: Depends on the conditions. I don't think the struggle today actually had so much to do with my opponent or the way he played. I think it was a lot more to do with the conditions. So if the conditions are the same on Tuesday, then it won't be easy, whoever I play. But I think I'll have learned things from today's match, and hopefully use them on Tuesday. But, yeah, can I definitely say I'd like it to be a little bit calmer.

Q. Can you remember it being as difficult here before?

TIM HENMAN: Well, no. I think anywhere, it's probably the toughest conditions. I don't know how quickly the wind's blowing. But, yeah, it's pretty strong. Once it gets inside the stadium, it's swirling so much. I think also it's getting quite hot at the end, as well. I was keen to finish it off.

Q. On your way back to No. 1 in Britain?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. It's nicer to be No. 1 than No. 2, if that is the case. But, yeah, A, it's the end of year, and B, it's my world ranking that's more important. But, sure, Greg's had a tough time recently with injury. But he seems to be coming back pretty strongly. So I just want to try and continue with my own progress and my own game really.

Q. When you got to the fourth round here a couple years ago, we didn't expect it as much. We sort of expected this, especially looking at the draw. Does that make it feel a little less like an achievement than it was then?

TIM HENMAN: I think, yeah, perhaps my standards are a little bit higher now. When I made the fourth round a couple years ago, it was a little bit more of a surprise, as you say. But today's match definitely gives me as much satisfaction as my previous two wins, just because of the circumstances. In the past, I've lost playing badly. Today I was able to win when I was playing pretty ordinary.

Q. In a general way, does it feel any different to you to be playing here than the way it feels to you when you're playing Wimbledon?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I think the feelings are pretty different. They're both Grand Slams. They're both great tournaments. But the circumstances are pretty different. I think with the support that I have -- I have good support here, but the support I have at Wimbledon is at its best. It's a different surface. But, no, they're both big tournaments. I look forward to them both.

Q. Nice way to start or celebrate the birthday?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, this was definitely the most important thing. I was aware it was my birthday. I'm a year older. If I'd have lost today, my birthday would have been an irrelevance. Brought my parents here, so I should get a few extra presents.

Q. Did they just fly in?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, flew in today, flying out tomorrow, as long as I get presents. No, they got her the Friday before the tournament.

Q. What's their rush?


Q. That was a joke.

TIM HENMAN: Friday before the tournament. They've been here for ten days. Whatever I do, they'll probably stay for another week.

Q. Did you get any interesting presents?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. I haven't opened them.

Q. Nothing like Goran?


Q. You didn't hear about Goran and his presents?


Q. Handcuffs, amongst other things.

TIM HENMAN: If you're into that type of thing, I'm sure he's very pleased (laughter). I'm not expecting that type of thing.

Q. Do you feel any pressure being seeded, then going out and really facing someone who you haven't met before?

TIM HENMAN: I've struggled in that situation. I have struggled before. I think most of these guys have seen me play some poor matches against lower-ranked guys. You have to deal with it. That's the way it is. But, you know, today is another, you know, relevant stepping stone for me. I played a guy I should beat in difficult conditions, and I won.

Q. You seemed to get a little bit irritated with the umpire occasionally. Was that part of the conditions, do you think?

TIM HENMAN: No. I think I was probably a little bit -- I lost my concentration a little bit. Perhaps I was distracted. I felt like I needed to get more aggressive, get a little bit more fired up. Just wanted to make sure the umpire was concentrating.

End of FastScripts….

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