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September 3, 1996

Tim Henman


Q. Tim, is that a case of what might have been? You had an awful lot of breakpoints?

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, it's true. You know, I think the first set was a good set to come out on top of. I think he had the majority of the chances. But, as you say, in the second set, I think in the first game, I had breakpoints and I couldn't take them. You know, maybe if I could have taken one of those, the momentum would have really swung my way. But, you know, having said that, I think at times when he's serving and volleying, you feel you're putting a bit of pressure on yourself and you go for a fraction too much.

Q. Is it wearing to know that he's just going to come in on every second ball?

TIM HENMAN: At least you know what you're in for. You've got to hit a lot of passing shots, a lot of good returns. But, you know, that's the way he plays, and obviously his results show that it's very effective.

Q. Tim, obviously two perhaps crucial factors: the inability to take the breakpoints in the second set and your serve percentage was down in the fourth.

TIM HENMAN: Yeah. I think that's a fair comment. Obviously if I could have taken some of those breakpoints when I really needed them, probably would have been a different story. But, you know, it wasn't to be. I think the first serve, if you don't get enough first serves in, then, you know, he does have the chance to attack on your second serve and get to net, which is obviously where he wants to play his tennis from.

Q. Did the groin injury hinder your serving at all?

TIM HENMAN: It's sore; it's uncomfortable. But I think, you know, I was pleased with the way it held up. Didn't really affect me throughout the match.

Q. Is it difficult not to think about the fact that it's Edberg, Edberg in his final Grand Slam event?

TIM HENMAN: I think a lot of people -- a lot of other people have focused on that. You know, I really wanted to make sure when I was out there, I did just focus on the ball. I think the majority of the time, 99 percent of the time, you know, I did do that.

Q. How tough was it to play with the whole crowd really cheering for him?

TIM HENMAN: Again, it's not -- there were times when I'm sure they did lift him. You know, I've experienced that at Wimbledon, when you're feeling a little bit tired, they really get behind yoou. It does give you a boost Like I said about playing Edberg, I was concentrating on playing the ball, you know, I wasn't trying to get involved with the crowd.

Q. Do you think he's capable of winning this tournament?

TIM HENMAN: I think, you know, if he plays some of his very best tennis, I'm sure he's beaten everybody in the tournament before, I would imagine so. You know, maybe he could do that again.

Q. The other day Paul Haarhuis was saying he was hoping that he could go home and have everybody say, "You were the guy that ended Stefan Edberg's Grand Slam career." Is that kind of the way you were thinking about things?

TIM HENMAN: I would have liked to, obviously. If I would have won the match, that would have been the case. You know, it wasn't to be. You know, I still think I can reflect on a very good tournament, another positive step in my career. Stefan's obviously at the end of his and hopefully I'm at the beginning of mine.

Q. You said you kept it out of your mind that it was his final Slam 99 percent of the time. Were there times --

TIM HENMAN: No. I think the question was whether I played Edberg or whether I played the ball. I think 99 percent of the time I did play the ball. There were obviously occasions when he does come in and you try to go for too much. That's probably the one percent of the time that you do play Stefan Edberg.

Q. You say you wanted this chance to play Stefan before he retired. Was it different from the perception of what it might be like?

TIM HENMAN: No. It was something that, you know, I'm sure I'll look back on as a pretty good match. I'm sure it's something that I'll go away and hopefully learned a great deal from. Playing on the stadium court against such a great player, you know, it's a good experience.

Q. Tim, how much did the thigh pull affect your play?

TIM HENMAN: As I say, it was uncomfortable, a little uncomfortable during the match. I don't think in the end of the day it affected the way I play. I thought I still was able to play a good match.

Q. Do you remember the first time you saw him play?


Q. Did you see him win Wimbledon, win here?

TIM HENMAN: I saw him win Wimbledon in '88, I think that was the first time he won. I guess I saw him play before that.

Q. When you saw him win Wimbledon, was it on television or live?

TIM HENMAN: On television.

Q. In the first set when you knocked him down, did that ball actually hit him?

TIM HENMAN: I think it hit him square on the forehead.

Q. What was your thought then?

TIM HENMAN: There are times when he covers the net so well, sometimes you go either side of him, and he picks off the volleys. At that stage I thought I'd go straight down the middle. I think he was pretty close to the net. Unfortunately for him, you know, he couldn't get out of the way of it.

Q. When he fell down, were you worried?

TIM HENMAN: I don't think I hit it that hard.

Q. One ball girl and Stefan Edberg. Any more?

TIM HENMAN: Who knows. I don't want to comment on that.

Q. Did he say anything to you when you came to the net to check on him?

TIM HENMAN: No. He just said he was fine.

Q. After your departure from Wimbledon last year, someone had said, "You're going to have this fabulous run at next year's Wimbledon." You have a good run here. You meet Stefan today. What would you think?

TIM HENMAN: I think obviously when I left Wimbledon last year, you know, it was in fairly unpleasant circumstances. You know, I think it was great for me to have such a good run at Wimbledon this year, hopefully erase a lot of people's memories.

Q. What's next for you?

TIM HENMAN: I'm going to travel back, back to England, and then I've got Bournemouth and the Davis Cup.

Q. How are you going to celebrate your birthday?

TIM HENMAN: Who knows.

Q. Tim, playing two matches on the stadium court against two top players, do you feel now you're able to compete at the very highest level?

TIM HENMAN: I think that's, you know, something I said. To play Stefan Edberg on the stadium court for my second match is a great experience. I'm very disappointed I lost the match. And I think if I could have won a few of the crucial points, maybe that could have been different. But I think I still take away a lot of positives and hopefully if I get in a similar situation in the future, you know, maybe I'll be able to come out on top.

Q. Tim, with yourself and Martin Lee, what's your feelings of Great Britain's tennis right now?

TIM HENMAN: I think it's improving. For 10 or 15 years, I think we had very limited, very limited number of players. Now I think a lot more people are playing the game, the standards are improving. You know, hopefully myself and Greg Rusedski, Martin Lee in the juniors, Arvind Palmer, if we can start producing good results, that can only be a good thing.

End of FastScripts...

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