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  Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Henman: The nearly man
Tim Henman
Will Henman ever win Wimbledon?
By BBC Sport Online's Mark Barden

So Tim Henman's large number of critics seem to have been proved right.

He might have won seven ATP titles and over $6m in prize money.

But the British number one has always been viewed by many as not quite good enough.

And after his five-set defeat by Ivanisevic - who had never beaten Henman in four previous meetings - the critics' voices will be heard even louder.

Had Henman made it into the final and then beaten Pat Rafter, he would have gone a long way towards convincing those critics that they may have been wrong about 'Tiger Tim'.

Once again, Henman has fallen just short when the big time was calling.

Ever since he first appeared on the scene in the mid-1990s people have been asking questions.

Does he lack the necessary killer instinct? Can he beat the best?

  Henman's ATP titles:
1997 Sydney
1997 Tashkent
1998 Tashkent
1998 Basle
2000 Vienna
2000 Brighton
2001 Copenhagen

Born in Oxford on 6 September 1974, he began playing tennis at the tender age of two-and-a-half on his family's court.

His parents, Tony and Jane, were keen players, and his grandfather Henry Billington reached the third round of Wimbledon in 1948, 1950 and 1951.

The young Tim's talent with a racquet soon become apparent, and by the age of 10 he was under the tutelage of David Lloyd.

Slow climb

The sports-mad solicitor's son took a gamble on leaving school at 16 - with 10 GCSEs - to try to make it as a tennis pro.

Henman made a slow, patient climb up the professional ranks.

In 1992, he won the British under-18s title and was ranked a lowly 771st in the world.

He had jumped to 434th the following year-end, and was up to 161st in 1994.

A broken leg that year put him out of the game for four months, but he still managed to make the world's top 100 in 1995.

Tim Henman
Henman: Was this year his best chance?

Henman made his Davis Cup singles debut against Slovakia that year, and lost to Pete Sampras in the second round of Wimbledon.

Pistol Pete was to become his SW19 nemesis as he beat the Briton in the semi-finals in 1998 and 1999.

Back in 1995, the not-so-mild-mannered Henman also suffered the ignominy of being disqualified from the men's doubles after hitting a ball girl with a ball in his first-round match.

By 1996, he had taken over from Rusedski as Britain's top-ranked player.

He cemented his status by becoming the first Briton to reach Wimbledon men's singles quarter-finals since Roger Taylor in 1973.

Henman won a silver medal in the men's doubles at the Atlanta Olympics with Neil Broad, and finished the year ranked 29th in the world.

He won his first ATP Tour title in Sydney in 1997, and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon again, losing to Michael Stich.

Dashed

Henman went one better in the following two years, but lost to eventual winner Sampras on both occasions.

Hopes of another run to the latter stages last year were dashed by a five-set loss to Mark Philippoussis in the fourth round.

Henman's record in the other Grand Slam tournaments is patchy.

He has never been beyond the fourth round of the Australian and US Opens, and has never made it past the third in the French.

  Henman's rankings climb:
1992: 771
1993: 434
1994: 161
1995: 99
1996: 29
1997: 17
1998: 7
1999: 12
2000: 10
Highest: 5 (July 99)
Henman's seven Tour titles (see above) have not been achieved in high-ranking events - he has never won a Master Series/Super 9 tournament.

He is renowned as one of the best serve-volleyers in the game, with a naturally strong backhand and good mobility around the court.

This year has seen an improvement in his sometimes erratic first serve, but his inconsistent second serve remains a major worry and played a large part in his defeat by Ivanisevic.

Questions have often been posed about Henman's mental toughness and his desire for success.

His win over Roger Federer in the quarter-finals suggested Henman was on the verge of fulfilling his potential.

But, after the defeat by Ivanisevic, Henman may have missed his best chance of claiming his holy grail - the Wimbledon title.

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