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March 22, 1997

Tim Henman


JOE LYNCH: I think most of you know Tim. First question, please.

Q. How was the injury out there?

TIM HENMAN: It's difficult. Probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, to play today. Having said that, in the last few days, it seemed okay in practice. Things aren't improving, so it's a question of seeing how it progresses over the next few days when it has some rest.

Q. Was it immediately apparent, Tim, as soon as you started to play, or did it sort of come on?

TIM HENMAN: It hasn't just started in that match.

Q. I realize that.

TIM HENMAN: But I think quite a lot of my serves, I don't really feel it's possible to really go after it, be as aggressive as I want. Sometimes if I miss-hit balls on the forehand, it's very uncomfortable. With regards to Davis Cup, I think if I was playing another tournament, if I was playing another tournament next week, I wouldn't be playing. But Davis Cup, I regard it differently. It's a question of sort of weighing things up, deciding what's best for me, whether I can be able to get in some worthwhile practice time before the tie starts, to be worth me playing. I don't do myself any favors going out and playing the way I did today.

Q. Is it a bit surprising a guy like that, no one's ever heard of, the way he hits the ball?

TIM HENMAN: He's got Spain after his name, so that gives you a fair idea. But, no, I'd heard from a few players, and I saw him play yesterday, that he's obviously a very good player. I'm sure in a few weeks when the claycourt season comes around, we'll be hearing lots more of him. Yeah, he's a very good player. From my point of view, it's disappointing. I think first things first, I need to get healthy again.

Q. Will you be seeking more specialist medical advice or have you already been as high as you can go?

TIM HENMAN: I've had specialist advice. We understand the problem. It's just a question of trying to wait until that problem's solved.

Q. And have they basically told you it's time or what, rest?

TIM HENMAN: It is rest. I think the problem does go back to when I was 11 and then sort of two and a half years ago I had the same problem. It is a problem with a loose body. That's what brings on the irritation. I feel confident that given rest, given time. You see, the problem two and a half years ago, the problem was I rested for three weeks, then I was able to start playing again. If that's the case, then it doesn't bode very well for Davis Cup. But then obviously if I were to rest for three weeks, to try and start playing again, it flares up, obviously rest may not be good enough, so then you talk about having bits taken out. It's just a question of waiting and seeing really.

Q. Do you want to avoid arthroscopic, if possible?

TIM HENMAN: Oh, sure. I think that is last resort. I feel confident that it won't be needed because it's the same as it was, as I said, in '94, and rest did the trick. It's just a question of how much rest. I don't think anyone can answer that, apart from myself, as to how it feels.

Q. What is the official diagnosis?

TIM HENMAN: The official diagnosis? A sore elbow.

Q. Tennis elbow?

TIM HENMAN: No, it's not tennis elbow. I have a piece, a loose body from when I was very young. For some reason, every so often it flares up and gets irritated. That's why the elbow's swollen. That's what causes the pain. It's a case of letting that settle down and get rid of the swelling, then go from there really.

Q. Is there pain when you try to go full out on a serve because of that?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. Not every time, but quite a lot of the time on the serve.

Q. Enough to inhibit you?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I mean, I don't think really -- I mean, I didn't serve properly I don't think all day. It just gets a sharp pain that goes down. I think it's a nerve, your lunar nerve. It's not comfortable.

Q. Does the fact that Greg apparently has injury problems for the moment as well, did that spur you to take a bit of a gamble in the Davis Cup?

TIM HENMAN: I think first and foremost, I have to worry about myself. I'm sure he's doing the same. That's why I say, if it was a tournament next week, I wouldn't be playing. The Davis Cup, you know, is different. I'd be desperately keen to play. Having said that, I don't think there's any good in not practicing until sort of Wednesday of next week, Wednesday or Thursday, and then trying to come in having not played, A, practice, and B, any matches. It might be better off for somebody like Andrew Richardson to have a crack, somebody like him who's played a lot of matches, can be a hundred percent ready and raring to go, take a little bit of a gamble from that point of view. Again, only time will tell what will happen.

Q. Is there any form of treatment? You have icing and ultrasound.

TIM HENMAN: Anti-inflammatories, icing to get the swelling down. It's a question of, I think, letting it calm down sufficiently so when I do start playing again it doesn't immediately flare up. That's no good. If that is the case, then if it does keep flaring up, obviously rest isn't good enough.

Q. Will you be staying here or going straight home?

TIM HENMAN: I think we'll be going home fairly shortly, I'm just not quite sure when.

Q. Have they suggested if you did carry on playing in this situation, you could do some more damage?

TIM HENMAN: I don't think I can do a great deal more damage. I may get more and more swollen. It's difficult. I don't really know if anyone knows exactly what the story is. With that in mind, that's why I thought I could take a risk today and try and play and see how it was. I think it inhibits my performance. It inhibits my performance enough not really to be the right decision.

Q. Did the question of whether to play or not today come up, even if just in discussion with you and David, or even in your own mind?

TIM HENMAN: I think there have been a few question marks. You know, I felt I've been practicing over the last few days and it hasn't been a hundred percent, but I thought when you get into a match situation, maybe when you're competing, you might sort of forget about it and just concentrate on trying to win. But, as I say, I played and I lost. It's not the end of the world.

Q. So you pulled out of doubles?


Q. Probably not the best time to judge, but can you see this lad Alonso being a really good prospect?

TIM HENMAN: I think definitely. I think he's in the mold of a lot of other Spanish guys. I think on clay he would be, you know, a very good player. I'm sure he played a vast number of matches already in the satellites and challengers. I think he's definitely one to watch.

Q. Just quickly, what is his greatest strength as you see him?

TIM HENMAN: A huge first serve. Obviously from the baseline, both sides, hits the ball very heavy, lots of topspin. With those sort of three things, you've got the basis of a good claycourt game.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Tim? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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