IN exactly one month's time Tim Henman will walk on to a Wimbledon tennis court for the last time as he joins the Great Britain team in its Davis Cup tie against Croatia.

He announced his retirement yesterday in New York where he takes part in the US Open next week. His appearance at the Davis Cup will be an emotional moment because for the past ten years Henman has carried the expectations of British tennis fans, and the general public, without ever being able quite to deliver what they wanted so passionately for him and themselves, the Wimbledon championship. Nonetheless his career has been a distinguished one with 11 singles titles won, a 38-14 record in the Davis Cup, four Wimbledon semi-finals in five years and seven quarter-finals in eight.

The paradox of Tim Henman's tennis was that he seemed to play best when in imminent danger of defeat; he could summon service aces, superb backhand volleys, breathtkaing drives and tantalising lobs when saving a set but often could not replicate these strokes to win a set that was his for the taking.

This made for nail-biting tension among the spectators and agonised cries of “Come on Tim” from Henman Hill but in the end the odds were always just slightly stacked against him.

But his elegant style and fighting spirit will remain in our minds for a long time; he has been a fine representative of his country.


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