Anorak News | Tiger Feat

Tiger Feat

by | 1st, July 2003

‘FOR the seventh time in eight years, Tim Henman has reached the quarter-final at Wimbledon – a record practically unsurpassed in recent years.

Flying the flag

Given the amount of pressure Henman is now under to give Britain its first men’s singles champion for three-quarters of a century, the feat is nothing short of remarkable.

And in his past four visits to the quarter-final, the British No.1 has every time progressed to the semi-finals, losing there on each occasion to the defending champion.

For the moment, Henman’s thoughts will not stray beyond Wednesday when he meets the winner of the Grosjean-Ferrero match.

But the defeat of Andre Agassi means that Henman could easily find himself as the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw when he steps out to play tomorrow.

That is not to say that there are not plenty of obstacles in his path to reaching the final.

Sebastien Grosjean, who leads Juan Carlos Ferrero by two sets to one overnight, beat Henman a couple of weeks ago at Queen’s.

Mark Philippoussis, who played magnificently to defeat Agassi, beat Henman when they last met at Wimbledon – in the fourth round in 2000.

And then there is Alexander Popp, who has only played one Wimbledon before in 2000 when he reached the quarter-final.

There are a lot of things Henman will be delighted about following his match against David Nalbandian, whom he had never previously beaten.

But his serve, which he lost five times in four sets yesterday (including three times in a row) is still a major worry.

Against the likes of Philippoussis, a single service break is pretty well the difference between success and defeat and Henman needs to get more penetration on his delivery.

Whether Henman can go further this year than he has been before is highly doubtful, but even if he doesn’t his is a magnificent achievement.

It is only when he is no longer a challenger that his record in SW19 will be recognised – and the championship itself will regain a bit of sanity.

Posted: 1st, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink