Henman: Not Over The Hill Yet

HAVING gone topless, perhaps Wimbledon should consider another break with tradition.
Cut out the boring bits and start all matches at five games all in the final set.
It certainly works for the Centre Court crowd.
The chap in front of me had been nursing a flask of tea during Amelie Mauresmo’s routine demolition of her first round opponent.
He perked up just a little when Sue Barker suddenly appeared at the back of the court for a TV link.
But there was no containing him in the Henman penalty shoot-out.
With our boy on the verge of victory, a raw excitement enveloped the arena as the five set drama reached its roaring finale.

“Finish it Tim, finish it,” was just one of many loud cries from the sidelines, each one highlighting the sheer desperation among fans for a home winner.
With every year that passes, it gets increasingly more vocal.

If we’re in with a chance of glory, you can forget any sense of British reserve or fair play, even among the refined surroundings of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
“Rubbish,” shouted one gent high in the stand when a female line judge dared to fault a Henman serve at 8-8.
We’ll put it down to the tension of the moment, shall we?
It’s probably best not to imagine what will happen should someone finally become the first Briton to win the men’s singles title since Fred Perry in 1936.
If it turns out to be Andy Murray, they’ll probably have to hand him the deeds to Scotland.
Despite this thrilling first round triumph after four hours and 11 mins, we’re unlikely to have to gift one of the Channel Islands to Henman.
His huge grin as he applauded all four sides of Centre Court spoke volumes.
Written off before the Championships, he came up with a famous victory and, like the crowd, had fun along the way.
After the match I asked Tim, now 32, if the wide of the mark speculation about his retirement had spurred him on.
“You know, the day that I retire, I’ll come out and tell you I’ve retired.
“Until then, I’ll keep playing. Simple as that,” he smiled.
Tomorrow Henman is back on Centre Court to face another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez.
Like Tim, we should enjoy it while it lasts.

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