Anorak News | Quiet Please

Quiet Please

by | 21st, June 2005

‘IT’S a little known thing that the Queen Mum’s dying wish was that Tim Henman would one day win Wimbledon. “Do it for me,” she beseeched. “Do it for the Sipper.”

Do it for the Sipper

It was 2002, and the Queen mum’s demise and Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee had given Tim the perfect platform on which to launch a successful assault on Wimbledon.

Here was the finest tennis player Britain had produced for an age being asked to deliver. And, before we go on, let it not be said that Henman is anything other than a very talented player.

So why did he fail to deliver? Was it deliberate? Did he lose to spite Royalty? Are we to suppose that our Tim is something of the anti-monarchist? Is Tim a Womble at Wimbledon?

Would it have been Tim’s year had another asked him to win? If George Galloway had told Tim to win it for Saddam, would our No. 1 have taken up his racket with a renewed and unstoppable gusto?

Of course, this is a fantasy. Tim is as British as, well, heroic failure. He’s as patriotic as rain on centre court. Like a course of HRT, Tim will deliver.

It’s just that Tim’s failure to transfer his talent into titles has left us looking for reasons.

How did it go wrong? Why at 30 years of age has Henman not yet won Wimbledon or reached the final? Why has he not won a single title on grass?

And we have an answer. In a word: Henmaniacs. And it’s no use a thousand and one of his middle-class, middle-aged, Middle England fans egging him on.

As any one who has ever had to perform in even a school play in front of mum knows, her presence is an unwelcome distraction.

Now imagine you’re at Wimbledon, the cameras are watching, a nation expects and hundreds of mumsy frumps are chanting your name.

And it’s not just on court – there are loads more of them camped on a hill they’ve named after you, clapping and clicking the lids on the tops of their prescription medication in rhythm behind your right arm. Tim hadn’t a chance.

But this year will be different. Henman will play on grass like he’s playing on speed. He wants to win.

Henmaniacs can all help by ignoring him. You need to look away and let him be himself.

He’ll thank you for it in the end…’

Posted: 21st, June 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink