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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK
Has Henman got what it takes?
Tim Henman
Tim Henman has raised British expectations at Wimbledon by reaching the semi-finals for the past two years - but can he go even further?

Henman feels he can be the first Briton to taste victory in the men's singles since Fred Perry in 1936, but there are still those who question his Grand Slam credentials.

The doubters point to his record against Pete Sampras and say that until he learns how to beat the best, Henman cannot realistically expect to become the best.

For his part, Sampras says Henman has got what it takes to win Wimbledon and he should know after notching up six singles titles of his own.

So what do you think?

Are British tennis fans kidding themselves into thinking Henman can do it... or do you think there is justifiable cause for optimism going into Wimbledon 2000?

Has Henman got what it takes?

HAVE YOUR SAY


I truly think that Tim can make it to the finals of Wimbledon. It's a shame that Greg can't join him, but these things happen. I wish Tim all the best and he has all the support from Great Britian behind him so he should go far. It all rests on Monday's game, so we all hope he can win this one so he can go through! Good Luck! Bring out that Henman Magic!
Charlotte, England

I think when Sampras said he thought Henman had what it takes to win Wimbledon, it was about 2 or 3 years ago, and he probably imagined Henman's performances would improve considerably in that time. Well they haven't. Henman has continually under-achieved in his career mainly because of his inconsistency and inability to hold his concentration throughout an entire match. I'd love to see him win any tournament and for him to inspire more British youngsters into this fantastic sport, but his only chance in this year's Wimbledon will be if Sampras and Agassi drop out!
Kathy, UK

Tim Henman definitely has the ability to be a Wimbledon champion along with Sampras. He is a really good player and I wish him all the best - I'll be right behind him all the way. It could be his year this year, and that would be a great boost for British tennis. He has worked so hard for this title and has not yet gained any luck, let's hope this changes. It would be great to see a British tennis player win Wimbledon again, and Tim has the ability and determination to do it. Go for it Tim!
Julie, UK

Tim can only do his absolute best and if he manages to perform on the day - and he has a bit

Henman has continually under-achieved in his career mainly because of his inconsistency and inability to hold his concentration throughout an entire match

Kathy, UK
of luck here and there - he will do well. Every Sport is difficult to win every time - consistency in all sports is a very difficult thing to achieve. I shall be supporting him all the way.
Moira, Nottingham, England

Henman will win if he hits a high percentage of 1st serves and stays as focused as he did in the Arazi match. I think we should support Henman and not keep berating him. We should be grateful that we have someone that we can pin our hopes on. Most of us have been waiting for something to cheer about in British tennis for years.
Cecilia, England

If the British crowd would not impose so much pressure on Henman, and he got on with the game instead of using that ridiculous right arm gesture of defiance every time he wins a point, he might do a lot better in the final rounds of a major.
Daffy, Australia

Like the English football team, we keep expecting Tim to pull it out of the bag for the big tournaments. This is a

I don't think Henman has what it takes. The pressure on him is enormous and he must feel it greatly.

Gwun Tsang, UK
very flawed approach. We should take an example from the other great sporting nations and develop consistent performance that rises and rises until we win, again and again, not just gargantuan efforts for the big tournaments every year. The only sure way to victory is hard work.
Chris, UK

Henman is a good player, not a great one, although he does have the potential. To get to the final he has to beat Agassi and then it will probably be Sampras ... so not this year.
Maggie Kavanagh, England

Henman has a great shout at winning Wimbledon this year. We have Sampras and Agassi not at their best and there's only about half a dozen seeds left, so really there's nothing from stopping tim from winning!
Alex Dam, England

I fear Henman will fall at the hands of Phillipoussis in the fourth round. However, I honestly think we should be grateful that we have a British man who has twice reached the Wimbledon semi-finals. It's 27 years since Roger Taylor did so, and I fear that once Tim has gone, it may be that long before we have another player who can get so close. None of our women even look like mounting a challenge to the top order.
Colin, UK

I'm afraid I will have to agree with Sam from UK that Henman has not got any charisma and is a rather boring sort of guy - but saying that - Sampras has not got any charisma either and still managed to win 6 times - the truth is that we all want Henman to win so much because he is British and not because he is a great player.
Mercedes, UK



We all want Henman to win so much because he is British and not because he is a great player

Mercedes, UK
Henman is a good player, not a great one - yet, though he does have the potential. However he has to beat Agassi to get to the final and then probably Sampras, so not this year for Tim.
Maggie Kavanagh, England

I honestly think we should be grateful that we have a British man who has twice reached the Wimbledon semi-finals. It's 27 years since Roger Taylor did so, and I fear that once Tim has gone, it may be that long before we have another who player can get so close. None of our women even look like mounting a challenge to the top order. Sorry, I don't share in the patriotism surrounding Rusedski, but I must say I felt very sorry for him after The Davis Cup tie against the USA.
Colin, UK

Tim has not got what it takes...too boring and no charisma!
Sam Javed, UK

Like a good wine, Tim Henman is taking time to mature as a player. He certainly has the potential to win Wimbledon and I think that he will do it. Not only is he a great tennis player, he's got the character of a champion. I'm right behind him all the way!! Good luck Tim!
Crystal, England



He's got the character of a champion

Crystal, England
Tim can go all the way. If he does his best he can beat the rest.
James Flaghtey, UK

If Henman had the guts of Jimmy Connors he would clean up at Wimbledon. Sadly he doesn't and that's why he will never become a great player.
Martyn Herman, England

Tim Henman is technically good enough to win Wimbledon, no doubt about that. Pete Sampras said that and he should know, having played against Henman several times. With the support of the Wimbledon crowd, Henman stands in a good stead. What he needs is consistency and mental toughness. He can hit every shot in the book, said American tennis legend, John McEnroe. Sampras said that Henman is on the verge of becoming a great player. Henman is now a very good player, on the verge of becoming a great player, just like Sampras and Agassi.
Dan Tan, Australia

Yet again we see poor old Tim Henman having to live up to the annual hype surrounding his appearance at Wimbledon. It must be bad enough to perform under the normal tournament pressures. The poor guy has shown himself to struggle under pressure and is prone to losing his concentration and spirit on numerous occasions. So all in all I guess the answer is no!
Dave, UK



Tim Henman is the most overrated sportsman in Britain

Matt, UK
Tim Henman is the most overrated sportsman in Britain. Henman, who has never won a Grand Slam tournament and never will, should stick to his modelling with Anna Kournikova and leave the tennis to the professionals.
Matt, UK

Henman has a habit of going ahead, then losing his lead but scraping through at the end. I think if he can finish off a lead positively and not let any doubt creep in, then he can beat the likes of Sampras and Agassi.
Annika, Scotland

Henman is an outstanding player, he has answered his critics before and he is sure to do so again. Go for it Tim!
Phil, England

The constant media attention Tim Henman receives is a bit puzzling. After all, it's Greg Rusedski who has won nine career titles, memorably beaten Sampras in Paris, become the first Briton to finish the year in the top ten since rankings were introduced, been the runner-up in a Grand Slam... Henman may be British number one now, but that's mainly a result of Rusedski being sidelined by injury. He definitely doesn't have the game to beat the likes of Sampras and carry off the Wimbledon trophy. We British fans should just hope that Rusedski can regain some of his former genius in the nick of time this year and forget about Henman!
Anna, England



Go for it Tim! We're all behind you

Laura, N. Ireland
Until Henman starts skipping the clay court season and spends more time relentlessly practising on grass, he won't win at Wimbledon. He needs to adopt an all-or-nothing attitude and focus on nothing else but winning Wimbledon in order to do so.
Rina Zambiar, U.S.A.

Go for it Tim! We're all behind you. It might not be this year but very soon we're going to have a British Wimbledon Champion!!!
Laura, N. Ireland

Unless Tim plays well, improves his mental strength and learns to win when he plays poorly, there is no chance of him winning a Grand Slam, or being a great player.
Robert Morrell, UK

Tim Henman has won four major tournaments in around seven years as a professional - that's five tournaments less than the career total so far of the much-maligned Greg Rusedski and the same number Lleyton Hewitt has won in the past six months. Yet the UK media are forever trying to persuade us he's a cross between Borg, Becker and McEnroe. He's either ludicrously over-hyped or a chronic over achiever - or both?
Dee, England



Henman won't win Wimbledon this year - he's desperately short of match practice

Neil, England
I think Tim Henman does have what it takes, he is a very skilful player. Although he does seem to loose his form in the middle of a match, he comes up trumps in the end! Good luck to him for Wimbledon 2000!!
Roz Cullen, England

Henman won't win Wimbledon this year. He's desperately short of match practice and cannot handle the pressure games. He's got to conquer his nerves before he can conquer Wimbledon.
Neil, England



We know he's got the ability and with his home crowd behind him he'll be unstoppable

Neil, England
Henman has every chance of winning Wimbledon. We know he's got the ability and with his home crowd behind him he'll be unstoppable.
Neil, England

Henman needs to maintain the standard he plays at whether he is faced with Pete Sampras or an unknown qualifier, he has a habit of going into matches that he should win, no questions asked, thinking that very thought and thus he puts up half the fight he would against a player ranked much higher; Henman needs to realise the gap between top ten players and those ranked 300 is very small!
Helen Baxter, England

Henman has as much chance as me of winning any Grand Slam, never mind Wimbledon, he is now 26 and has not made any progress against the likes of Sampras in the last two years. As a contrast you only need to look at Hewitt at 19! If there happened to be nothing at stake against say, Sampras, no doubt Henman could even beat him, he has the ability, but not the nerve.
Norman Rea, Australia



Pete Sampras thinks so and, coming from a tennis legend, that is good enough for me

James, UK
Five years ago a Briton in the second round at Wimbledon was almost unheard of. In other Grand Slams we were lucky if any Britons qualified. Now Tim Henman (and Greg Rusedski) are playing in ATP tournaments around the world and have turned British tennis around. He has proved he can beat the top players with equal ability. I have never doubted him after I saw him beat Richard Krajicek in Wimbledon 1996 in the fourth round and when he beat Andre Agassi in the final in Basle 1998. He has what it takes and with our support and a great deal of determination and concentration he can go all the way and win. Pete Sampras thinks so and, coming from a tennis legend, that is good enough for me.
James, UK

I think Henman has a great chance this year. His game has matured and he is stronger mentally. If he can find a groove with his serve, I think he can go all the way.
Daniel, England

I would like to think that Tim has what it takes to win at Wimbledon. However, having watched loads of players over the past year, I really do feel that time is running out for Tim. His game doesn't seem to have moved on over the last 12 to 18 months, whilst new stars are coming through. Lleyton Hewitt's victory at Queen's over Pete Sampras shows just how far he has come on in the last 12 months whilst Tim if anything has stayed still.
Sara, UK



Henman has proven that he has the game to win Wimbledon, but he needs to learn to be more mentally tough

Stuart, Italy
Henman has proven that he has the game to win Wimbledon, but he needs to learn to be more mentally tough and maintain his concentration when the chips are down. I don't think he can blame the country's high expectations of him as I believe the crowd carry him a lot, as proves his lack of great performances in the other Grand Slams. At the end of the day though, he is never going to be #1 as he would have been in the top five by now if he were and already there is a new crop of young pretenders ready to take over at the top from Sampras and Agassi.
Stuart, Italy

I think the pressure Tim Henman has problems with isn't to do with the players - it is the expectation people have of him. We do this with every sport and every sporting figure - look to them to be the great hope saving whatever sport, and then castigate them when they fail to live up to our absurdly inflated expectations. We are an island nation of under 60 million. We cannot expect to be world-class at everything. Give the man credit for being as good as he is, support him but don't hype him - let our sportsmen achieve in their own time without pressure from us.
Neil , UK

Henman does not have the full game to win Wimbledon. He lacks consistency in terms of maintaining a high standard of tennis over a two-week tournament.
Mike Smithers, England



I think Tim Henman is a brilliant player, if everyone leaves him alone I believe he can win

Tracy, Norwich, UK
I will have to agree with Nick (USA) as I've always thought Tim Henman hasn't got the mental strength to win major tournaments. Vanessa from Scotland is also quite right quoting that if he was good enough, he would have won a major tournament by now. What I don't understand is why some other people think that what he needs, is having the crowd behind him. I've seen no match (on English courts) in which the crowd hasn't been behind him.
Salvador Palomino, UK

Forget Tim - Ivanisevic will put him out. However, Greg is coming back to form at the right time and I feel he has the strength, determination and character to go all the way this year.
Dan, UK

I think Tim Henman is a brilliant player, if everyone leaves him alone I believe he can win. He has as good a chance of winning as everyone else.
Tracy, Norwich, UK



The truly great players can win when they are playing below their best but Tim in general has not found this in his game yet

Ian McCormack, UK
I truly hoped to be proved wrong but I honestly feel that Tim will not rise much further. As the saying goes: "It's not how good you are when you're good, it's how good you are when you're bad". The truly great players can win when they are playing below their best but Tim in general has not found this in his game yet. He needs to start to hate losing more than he loves winning. But having said all this, he is the best thing in tennis to come out of this country for a long time and we should encourage him all we can.
Ian McCormack, UK

Henman has one of the best all round games there is. However, he does lack the mental strength to succeed over two weeks and with the pressure he is under at Wimbledon it would take a miracle for him to win. Personally, I think it will be a second or third round exit this year. I would love to be proven wrong though. Good luck Tim.
Kevin Duffy, Scotland

Good luck to Tim and Greg, but no British player is yet good enough to win.
Michael, England



Henman playing well can beat anyone

Dan Cale, UK
Henman playing well can beat anyone. He needs the consistency and self belief that he can actually beat the likes of Sampras and Agassi when he needs to.
Dan Cale, UK

Sadly, Tim Henman has not got what it takes to become a champion. If he wants to improve then he should watch and learn from the young and fearless Lleyton Hewitt's performance against Pete Sampras at Queen's. That's how it should be done Tim!
Michele Williams, England

Technically Henman is among the best without a shadow of a doubt. The lack of success is because of his poor mental attitude. He puts himself under pressure (of public expectations, fear of defeat). He also lacks that killer instinct that help win crucial points. A natural winner would have these winning instincts within themselves. Henman needs to develop these if he is to win Grand Slams. I suggest he gets help from a boxing coach (or similar) to develop a winning attitude. Henman also needs to forget the expectations and play his normal game and enjoy himself. I would love to see him at the top!
Henderson, Sweden



Henman has had plenty of chances so far and has not really done anything of great substance

Vanessa, Scotland
Henman's problem is his consistency and the amount of shock exits from tournaments means that he is not as he used to be, either that or the people around him are getting better. His game doesn┐t seem to be improving - perhaps he should look at his training/coaching schedule.
Gloria, Newcastle

The pressure on Tim Henman is immense as we have not had a decent tennis player in this country for years. I'm sure that if the public did not expect so much he may well perform.
Chris, Nottingham

Henman has had plenty of chances so far and has not really done anything of great substance. If he was good enough, he would have done it by now
Vanessa, Scotland

I wish people would get off Tim Henman's back. The tournament has not yet started and already people are doubting his ability. He's never going to win if people don't get behind him.
Matt Jones, UK



Henman does not have the mental strength to win major tournaments

Nick, USA
Henman does not have the mental strength to win major tournaments. There is an attitude common to winners that Henman lacks but other players (e.g. Sampras) have in abundance.
Nick, USA

There is no question that Henman has what it takes to win Wimbledon. His ability cannot be questioned, all he needs is the crowd behind him and that little bit of luck essential to every victory.
Su, England

Henman is technically good but cannot take the pressure when he meets the heavyweights of the game.
Ian Dunn, UK

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See also:

09 Jun 00 | Mens Seeds
Tim Henman
10 Jun 00 | The Brits
British men's hopefuls
10 Jun 00 | The Brits
British women to watch
10 Jun 00 | The Brits
Profile: Greg Rusedski
10 Jun 00 | The Brits
Profile: Tim Henman
11 Jun 00 | Sportstalk
Short-change for the women
11 Jun 00 | Sportstalk
Can anyone stop Sampras?
11 Jun 00 | Sportstalk
Has Wimbledon lost its lustre?
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