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September 2, 1998

Tim Henman

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Satisfied?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I think there were definitely areas of my game that I can play a little bit better, but, you know, first round is never easy. And having been in New York for quite some time and then having first round match on Wednesday, there has been plenty of time to think about it. I served pretty consistently, perhaps served a few too many doublefaults, but, no, very satisfied to be in the next round without having dropped a set.

Q. Got a bit sticky there at one point, didn't it?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, end of the second set.

Q. Why?

TIM HENMAN: End of the second set, you know, I am up 6-3, 5-4, things are going pretty smoothly and yeah, I didn't play the best game when I served for the set, but, you know, he raised his levels and, you know, I was able to save a couple of set points and, you know, those are the times where, you know, if he suddenly swings around. It is a set-all, you are in a dogfight, but I was able to get into the tiebreak and it was tough, yeah, after the last tiebreak I played in New Haven wasn't quite sure what to expect, but to win two sort of rested those memories.

Q. Were they all matchpoints in that match in the tiebreak --

TIM HENMAN: All eight of them.

Q. That court has quite a lot of distractions on it, aren't there?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, quite a lot of people moving around and it is always pretty noisy, but I think if you come to the US Open expecting it to be quiet, and people sitting still, I think you are a little bit naive, but I enjoy the atmosphere and can't have too many complaints.

Q. Was the --

TIM HENMAN: You never asked so many questions in your life.

Q. About the Krajicek, that tiebreak, I mean, there is -- some people these things can fester. Did you --

TIM HENMAN: Definitely not.

Q. Were you able to shrug it off?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, by my 11th beer after the match, but, no, wasn't quite like that. I kind of came off the court and I was disappointed, but I was only joking when I said that.

Q. I will divide the figure by three.


Q. Make it four.

TIM HENMAN: But, no, it was -- I kind of felt like I was due one of those against Krajicek. You look at the two previous matches that we played and I was able to win the one at Wimbledon with three tiebreaks in a pretty close four-setter. In London he served the match I was able to turn that around. So it was -- I was disappointed, eight matchpoints is a lot to lose, but I felt really happy the way I was playing. It was a good match, so, no, it wasn't something I dwelled on a great deal. I think there have definitely been other matches this year that have -- losses that have affected me a lot more than that one.

Q. At times does it get tense because you have been here, what, nine days now --

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, it is definitely longer than I thought. I didn't actually -- we went away, went to sort of East Hampton for a couple of days, so I didn't actually start practicing until Wednesday, but, you know, I think -- probably thinking that I would play Monday or Tuesday, so it was a bit of a surprise to be scheduled on Wednesday for the first round, but I didn't -- as we got nearer the match, I didn't practice a great deal, to tell you the truth, probably only 45 minutes the last couple of days. So I was definitely eager to get out and start playing.

Q. Presumably you have to play again tomorrow?

TIM HENMAN: I don't think so.

Q. No?

TIM HENMAN: No. I think we can play second round on Friday, from what -- I mean, I am not 100% sure.

Q. Do you feel under any great pressure here to sort of establish yourself with a Grand Slam outside of Wimbledon?

TIM HENMAN: Not really, no. I have played pretty well here in the past. So, yeah, the Slams are always places where you want to play your best tennis, but I think looking at my game in the last couple of months it is the consistency that I have been striving for and it is beginning to happen. So those are definitely the positives. In the next match I have got to continue that.

Q. Is that court faster? Most people have been saying the conditions seem faster?

TIM HENMAN: I think the courts are all the same, but they are playing pretty quickly. I think fractionally quicker than last year, but no, that is definitely something that suits me.

Q. Mantilla, what are your thoughts on that?

TIM HENMAN: We played end of last year indoors I think in Vienna and, yeah, I think it is pretty clear the way I will play, clearly the way he will play. So, you know, my attacking game will have to be better than his defensive game, but, yeah, he is going to make me play a lot of balls and -- but I feel confident going into the match.

Q. Everyone said the courts are quicker. The Spanish guys are the ones that are going to really suffer?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I mean, most of the guys that are playing with a lot of topspin from the baseline, so you would have thought attacking guys have a little bit of an advantage, so, yeah, I definitely hope that is the case with me.

Q. Are they quicker?

TIM HENMAN: I think they are a little bit quicker than last year as I just said to John's question.

Q. Yes, indeed.


Q. Tim, mechanically what is the key for you on the serve when you are serving well?

TIM HENMAN: I think rhythm, the rhythm is pretty important, I think if anything when things start to go wrong my ball toss is perhaps a little bit low and I rush the serve, but no, apart from that, I have been serving pretty well the last couple of months, so, if I can maintain good rhythm then I think that is important.

Q. What about follow through on your serve?

TIM HENMAN: Never thought about it.

Q. Getting good snap on the balling?

TIM HENMAN: Getting snap on the ball is important, but I never really thought about my follow through.

Q. I noticed in the first set that you did some deep knee bends. Did you have any tightness today in your legs?

TIM HENMAN: Not really. I think, you know, you just want to keep your legs moving and I think in the early parts perhaps I wasn't moving my feet as quite as quickly as I would have liked, but, you know, you just trying to stay fairly loose on the court.

Q. You haven't played him before?


Q. Was it difficult for you -- was it a tough opponent?

TIM HENMAN: I knew he has definitely been playing pretty consistent. He won Queens and made the final in Washington. Yeah, he is a dangerous type of player. I think he is capable of beating a lot of good players on his day. I just had to make sure that I wasn't one of them. Yeah, it was not the easiest of first rounds, so, pleased to be through to the next one.

Q. Did he do anything that surprised you?

TIM HENMAN: Not really, no. I think I had pretty good idea before the match the way he was going to play and I think yeah, he played that way.

Q. With as quick as the courts are playing, what do you think the chances are that a baseliner can win the tournament?

TIM HENMAN: Pretty good chance. I think speaking to guys like Agassi and Rios, they feel pretty comfortable, pretty comfortable out there, so, I still think just because the courts are playing a little bit quicker, it doesn't mean to say that you have got to be a serve and volleyer to win the tournament. I think Rafter is probably a guy that serve and volleys most consistently behind first and second serves and he was obviously struggling last night.

Q. Do you think you will be able to overtake Greg at this tournament?

TIM HENMAN: Who knows. I got a pretty good opportunity. Obviously he is defending a lot of points, but, it is just -- I am much more interested in the continuation of the way I am playing and if I do that then, you know, I have to wait an see. I am definitely pretty happy with the way things are going for me.

Q. Do you have any goals that you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year, say, crack the Top-10?

TIM HENMAN: I think that was one of the goals that I had spoken a lot about in the last eight, nine months so to break into the Top-10, whenever it was, two weeks ago was -- you know, it was something I was pleased to achieve, but I'd like to stay there a little bit longer. It was unfortunate that the two guys behind me won a tournament each, but yeah, I feel if I can continue then there is no reason why I can't get back in the Top-10 and stay there.

Q. The improvements that you have made in your game, how do you account for those? Is it mechanical or is it mental?

TIM HENMAN: I think it is more mental. You look at the way I have played in the last probably four years, I don't think my game has changed. But I understand my game a lot better and I am able to, you know, I am able to play a higher standards of tennis for longer periods and when I have been -- when I have struggled with my consistency I have probably been a little bit too negative, but now I am playing pretty good aggressive tennis and that is obviously what works for me.

End of FastScripts....

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