No more ‘Henmania’ as good old Tim steps down

“I was a good player who worked hard, gave everything I had to my profession and I don’t think you could ask for more than that.”

British tennis star Tim Henman has announced that he will retire next month, his last match being at the Davis Cup tie with Croatia. 

“I want to take a step back from the tennis world.”

After 14 years playing professionally, the 32 year old former British number 1 has admitted his injuries have been getting the better of him.  Until 2 summers ago Tim was still in the worlds top 10, but for the first time in 12 years he will drop out of the top 100 if he loses his match with Dmitry Tursunov in his US Open first round match.  Speaking abot his injuries he said:

“The way that it’s affected my performance has obviously made my life a little bit harder and probably a little bit less enjoyable…  It’s absolutely the right time for me.  I have no doubts whatsoever.  It’s not necessarily the end, but I’d like to think it’s a new beginning.”

Two things have been key in his decision to retire.  Firstly, he has had a painful back condition for a few years now, and when he started playing on the hard courts again last month in Washington the pain was too much and aided his decision to stop.  He has decided that he would like to spend more time with his family, and the fact that his lovely wife, Lucy, is expecting their third child next month pretty much finalised his decision to retire sooner rather than later.

“I will miss the competition the most.”

So after the US Open, his final Grand Slam, Henman will play his final match at the All England Club in next month’s Davis Cup tie, much as his former rival Greg Rusedski did earlier this year.  Throughout his career, Tim has won 10 ATP Tour titles.  However his dream of winning a major grand slam tournament, especially Wimbledon, has always eluded him and he has suffered defeats in six grand slam semi-finals.  He admitted he originally wanted to play one more Wimbledon next year but changed his mind because of health issues with his knee and bad back.

“I played some of my best tennis at Wimbledon and that’s something I’ll always be proud of. My record was good there but it was always a goal of mine to win the tournament. Am I disappointed I didn’t win it? Yes I am. But when I reflect on my career, I was always able to maximize my potential. This was as good as I could have been.”

When asked if he was do it all over again, would he do anything differently Tim replied:

“Yeah, of course, against Goran.”

For those who dont know, in 2001 Tim came within two points of becoming the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938.  However he ended up losing a five-set marathon game to eventual champion Goran Ivanisevic in a match that was played over three days because of rain.

It seems likely that Tim will concentrate on his property empire, and perhaps even a coaching or mentoring role with the LTA.  He has been doing that informally for quite a while though, particularly with the Andy and Jamie Murray, who have both benefited from Tims support.  With both Tim and Greg Rusedskis retiring, men’s British tennis must now move on to a new era in which rising star Andy Murray is expected to dominate.

“Hopefully the pieces have been put in place for the next generation and Andy, fingers crossed, will play a big part in that.”