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August 27, 1997

Tim Henman

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Did you feel that that was maybe slipping away at any point or were you always in control?

TIM HENMAN: No, not at all. The result actually doesn't really surprise me at all. I think the way I have been playing in the last week, the way I played last week and the week previously in New Haven, I really felt very, very confident with my game. And, the situation with his style of play and my style of play, it is, you know, he has got a good game for me to play against. He stands quite a long way back on the serve and gives me an opportunity to get pretty close to the net. And, you know, I was trying to bide my time from the baseline when I got an opportunity I was going to come in. So, I really did believe before the match that I had the ideal game plan. And, it was whether I put it on the court and I think I definitely did that.

Q. How difficult is he to play in terms of some of the stunts he was pulling out there?

TIM HENMAN: He is pretty -- he is a pretty entertaining guy both on and off the court. And, yeah, there is an element where you make sure you keep your concentration. I certainly enjoyed the match and I think quite a lot of other people did.

Q. Have you ever been chased off the court before?

TIM HENMAN: No. I said in the locker room I wasn't scared to admit that I was frightened so I thought the best thing to do was keep running.

Q. It looked like there was a lot of playfulness. How friendly are you with him?

TIM HENMAN: We get on very well off the court. I have practiced with him quite a lot, and, yeah, he is a good guy. But at the end of the day, he will be the first to admit that, you know, when you get on court, that is all -- you are out there to win the match; nothing else.

Q. You started off with a 1, 2, 4, ace. Talking about putting a marker down there. It was hugely important.

TIM HENMAN: I think I did serve very well throughout the match. From, you know, two totally different serves. From one end you are really hitting as hard as you can and the other end you are trying to make a high percentage of serves and I think the way I started off was, you know, it was definitely the way I had been playing. I think I probably won the first 13 out of 14 points or something like that. So, that sort of set the tone for the match really.

Q. Would you put this up beyond Kafelnikov or where in your best Grand Slam?

TIM HENMAN: Who cares. It is a good win. I think you can put it like that. Whether my best win is beating Kafelnikov, Krajicek, or beating Muster, I think they are all good wins and all in the biggest tournaments. So, you know, I think that is satisfying. But I'd still go ahead and say I need to be more consistent away from the Slams.

Q. You seemed to be annoyed at the end, you sort of rushed off the court.

TIM HENMAN: I got a few blisters on my feet and wanted to get those treated, so no point of hanging around, is it?

Q. Was it windy inside the court on one side?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, it is very windy. You know, the wind, it is not swirling which I think makes it fractionally easier. But, yeah, it is a really strong wind coming straight down the court. And, you know, I think that makes life difficult for both of us, but I think that -- I think it is easier to play your points from the net when it is very windy than from the baseline.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about how you took the sting out of his power. I mean, he was just blasting those balls and you are just so steady.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I don't think -- I am not going to try and beat him at his own game, that is for sure. And, when you are against the wind, you have got to take a few risks. You can't just push the ball on the court because he is going to be able to dictate that. That is when you can have a swing at things. But when I am with the wind, then it is tough for him to hurt me. So I was going to bide my time. I wasn't going to make silly mistakes. Then when I did get a short ball, I would come in. I think that is where I won the majority of my points.

Q. The United States Tennis Association just spent $254 million for the new stadium and to improve the grounds. Can you think of one thing the All-England Club could learn from this to improve Wimbledon?

TIM HENMAN: Nothing. (laughter) It is definitely one of the most impressive stadiums in the world, that is for sure. And, I think, you know, the players will be the first to admit it is a huge improvement for the facilities that we have. But I think the -- I mean, the size of the lockerrooms maybe at Wimbledon are at the moment a little bit small, but I think under the new construction of where the old Court No. 1 was, that is all going to be redone. We will probably, you know, just put us back a little bit in front of the U.S. Open. No, just kidding.

Q. Tim, about Ferreira, any history with him?

TIM HENMAN: Played him twice. I lost to him the first time in Toronto. Pretty much this time last year. Then I beat him indoors at the end of last year. And he has had a big slip in his ranking. But, you know, he is still a very, very good player. And, you know, I think it is going to be -- he plays a different style of play, so it is probably going to be a tougher match for me.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how your strength? Has it improved or is it improving? And, is your serve bigger than it was?

TIM HENMAN: Definitely. It is an area that I realized I have a good serve and I think now it is - I have said before - that it has improved a lot throughout the last sort of year, 18 months. And I think now it is definitely a big weapon. It is something I have got to use. And, I think I wouldn't say my serve has changed a great deal, but I think the work that I have done off the court, I think that helps a great deal.

Q. Can you explain how you got to this moment from a, rather, not too good a moment in Montreal about four, five weeks ago?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I think probably -- I think in Montreal it was definitely -- I said it was my worst performance as a professional. And, I didn't play very well the second week, I mean, in Cincinnati. But, you know, I am still going to continue to work on the things that I believe in. And I think the last since Cincinnati, my performance in practice have set up the performances in last week's matches in New Haven and definitely the match today. And, I think if you -- if you don't practice well, you can't expect to play well and, likewise, I have been practicing so well. So, that is why I said that I wasn't surprised with, you know, that I was able to play as well as I did and win the match.

Q. You had a long chat yesterday with Edberg who had an a 10-0 record against him. What did he tell you to do?

TIM HENMAN: I think pretty much the way I played. It is obvious the way he played when he was playing, you know, a lot of serve, volley points. Yeah, as you said, it served him pretty well with 10 wins and no losses, so that was obviously a game plan. And, I was anxious just to stick to it.

Q. You mentioned your opponent's ranking slipping. For those of us who really don't follow tennis, when you are playing a future opponent do you really wonder -- is it like a stock going up and down, if his ranking is going up and down?

TIM HENMAN: It doesn't affect the way you are going to play the match. But, you know, he has been a top 10 player for a long time. So, I think him, at his present ranking, at 55, or whatever it is, is not where he belongs. And, I think he is going to be very anxious to get back up into the top of the game. But, no, it is not something I pay a great deal of attention to. I will concentrate on my own performance.

Q. Records going up and down as opposed to athletes --

TIM HENMAN: Obviously there is a ranking system in tennis and that is how you are judged in the world. It is simple as that really.

Q. Do you pay attention to your ranking every week? Does that stay on your mind?

TIM HENMAN: If you concentrate on your performance and you get your wins, then the ranking will take care of itself.

Q. What did you think when he started to chase you?

TIM HENMAN: Chase me?

Q. On that point. The one that made the highlights.

TIM HENMAN: I think it was a bit of fun, a bit of humor, and --

Q. Did you think that initially when he first started coming at you, were you thinking that?

TIM HENMAN: No, I don't think so. (laughter).

Q. Greg paid a handsome tribute to you. (inaudible)

TIM HENMAN: I think it is probably, you know, I'd much prefer to be Britain's No. 1 than No. 2 you. But, I think it is probably the best thing for me. And it is a healthy rivalry. And, we have both said that for how many years -- however many years as it is now. And, you know, I think he deserves to be where he is, because he has played, yeah, pretty much the events he has played this year, he has played phenomenally well. And, you know, I am not saying that I have been complacent, but, sure, with him overtaking me in the rankings, it is going to spur me on to try and, you know, to have two British players in the top 20.

Q. We know that the Americans are still pretty steamed about losing Greg to you Brits. Speak for yourself. (laughter). Okay. So, what would it take to get you to come on over here? (laughter) A little bribe or something, some big contracts?

TIM HENMAN: I am quite happy where I am, thank you very much.

Q. Is your confidence level back where it was at the start of the year?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I think I need to probably -- I'd say my confidence probably was a fraction higher in Australia just by the sheer number of matches that I have played. But, the way I am hitting the ball now, I don't think I can have too many complaints. Now it is just a question of trying to keep the ball rolling. But, everybody appreciates my next round. It is a very difficult one, so, I have to really be on top of my game to come away with a win.

Q. Any pre-game jitters playing in a new stadium?

TIM HENMAN: We have had the chance to practice on it a lot before the tournament, so, it is not something you really call a factor if you like. Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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