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Monday, 22 January, 2001, 12:51 GMT
Will to win or long-term losers?
Are Henman and Rusedski long-term losers?
British hopes of a Grand Slam winner have fallen by the wayside once again.

Are Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski unlucky or just not good enough? Have they got the will to win a major tournament?

HAVE YOUR SAY Although both have the skills to trouble the top players in the world, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski bowed out of the Australian Open at the fourth-round stage.

Henman accepted his defeat meekly and freely acknowledged that he was not good enough to beat home favourite Pat Rafter.

Rusedski, on the other hand, admitted he was delighted to reach the fourth round and beat world number one Gustavo Kuerten.

Do the pair lack a real will to win? And does Britain's competitive streak need bolstering in general?

Or are they right to be perfectly content with their performances?

Tell us what you think.


For British tennis, I don't think it's always a question of how seriously the sport is played within the country. Tennis is about as big in Britain as say, rowing, yet Steve Redgrave managed to be a world beater. It's down to the individuals themselves. If Tim Henman loses, it's not because he's British, it's because he as an individual is not up to it mentally.
Stephen, Ireland

I really hate all these people who are down about Tim and Greg. They both are top class players, maybe not as high profile as Safin or Sampras yet, but as they both proved at the Aussie Open they can beat world class players. Greg pulled off an amazing victory over Kuerton and all Tim's opponents where high class players.
Sarah, N.Wales

Most of the great British sportsmen out there are Scots or Northern Irish. In your detail you said that an Australian hasn't won the Open for 20 years but they have certainly won at Wimbledon and others. In fact they also won themselves National Victory in World Cup Cricket and Rugby. And we have the sense to knock them. They won the Olympic bid against us, they beat us in the Cricket, Rugby and are better seeded in the Tennis - lets not pat ourselves and abuse them. Especially when they beat us at our own sports. when was the last time we won anything ?
bruce hill, England,UK

Henman and Rusedski are obviously two of the best tennis players in the world. Otherwise they wouldn't even be competing in Grand Slam tournaments. What they need is support from the British people. Every time they make a mistake or lose a match they are criticised. We need to stop doing that and start really getting behind everyone that represents our country.

I am a Brit but I am living in Australia, and here it seems that no matter how well their tennis players perform, the public are always 100% behind them. The Australian tennis players do not enjoy as much success as they would like either, but they don't criticise and question their players ability every time they lose a match!
Kate, Australia

It is so easy to get on the bandwagon and slag players off because they haven't got the killer instinct or perhaps they are too British in their attitude. What a load of codswallop. To be a tennis player in the top 20 in the world you do have to have talent and you also need to have a strong mental attitude to play at that level.

So rather than moan about it support them. British tennis has moved up in the world and will continue to do so. Remember Rusedski has been in and out of injury and no one seems to remember that he got to the US Open final.
Mark Robinson, UK (ex-Can)

Perhaps the state of British tennis could be improved if it was given the sort of TV coverage that sports such as football are given. It is not surprising that Britain produces so few tennis stars when the sport receives such minimal funding and promotion.
Deborah Lindop, Germany

Basically, not good enough. Henman is too "nice", if you like, and does not menace his opponents, as he should if he wants to win. Rusedski is occasionally menacing but lacks the all-round game. Nor is he fast-thinking enough. Of the two, Rusedski probably has the greater will to win but neither will win anything at moment. Sorry, but there it is.
Roche, Belgium

Tim and Greg are both very good players. Their world rankings though are very superficial when compared to fellow tennis players like Agassi, Sampras, Moya etc. Whenever they have met any of these top players, the results have been obvious as they (Tim and Greg) do not believe in themselves.

The British sports fans believe in them more than they believe in themselves. They need what other tennis players have: proper psychological tuning before the matches. The Eye
The Eye, UK

There is no national characteristic that dictates that British tennis players should be either losers or winners. Henman and Rusedki do have the ability to win grand slams. But, so do a great many other tennis players.

We need more people playing tennis to improve our chances of success. As other people have implied, tennis is not a focus for British children and I'm not convinced this will change. So, we may have players who will win grand slams but they seem likely to be few and far between.
Chris, UK

The Brits should stop beating themselves over the head any time they fail to succeed. It's high time they realize that they are a small country and apart from soccer, most other sports have an elitist bent unlike in Aus and the US so they don't have that large pool of young talent continuously coming through.
Patrick B., USA

To put it bluntly, the British love taking mediocrity as excellence. Greg and Tim were not good enough; tactically and mentally. The thing is, once Britain has a fighting chance for a title, they immediately proclaim themselves world beaters.

Remember Euro '00 anyone?
Wonu, Nigeria

I was lucky enough to see both Tim and Greg play at the Australian Open last week. Tim played a solid game against Wayne Arthurs (Aust)and won this in four sets. Technically Tim is a good player, but there are so many good players, even in the lower ranks that he really needs to be much more than just a "good" player to win a grand slam.

Greg's match was fantastic, he had the crowd right behind him when he played Kuerten. Aussies love a good tennis match, especially when someone is playing so well against an ex no. 1 ranked player. Greg really surprised me, he seemed to come into the net much more and played some great shots.

Perhaps Pat Cash's training is having a positive effect. From what I saw of Greg I wouldn't be writing him off just yet. He really did show great determination and the will to win. I'm not a Brit, but I for one will be cheering him on next year. He deserves it, so get behind him and be positive.
Alice, Australia

People in this country should realise that neither Henman or Rusedski are talented enough to win grand slams; their attitude has nothing to do with it. Fine, they may be good enough to beat a half-fit Sampras, or an emotionally drained Agassi, but when it comes to 'on their day, they can beat anyone', that does not apply in grand slams.

I find all of the deductions made about Britain's national character based on its failure to produce decent tennis players absurd.
  Richard Avis, UK
If Sampras, Agassi, Kuerten, Safin and another fifteen or so players play anywhere near their best, the top two 'Brits' will not win, even if they play their best and battle as hard as possible. Let's face it: Britain doesn't care about tennis, and the sooner the minority which loves tennis realises this, the better.
Chris, UK

While Rusedski has the will to win and mental attitude to win a "major" he lacks the all-round talent. Whereas Henman has a great all-round game and the neccessary ability, he has repeatedly shown himself to be fragile on the big occasion .
Kelvyn Smith, UK

Rusedski performed very well at the Aussie Open considering his time off for surgery and lack of practise. Henman had so many excuses and appears to lack the "killer instinct" in most tournaments except Wimbledon.

To become a top four player he needs to put in that effort and desire all year long. Can he? Doesn't look like it. Still he is a brilliant player just inside the top 10. It's his choice if he wants to go further.

I find all of the deductions made about Britain's national character based on its failure to produce decent tennis players absurd.

Let's face it, tennis in Britain is an elitist game run by an elite for its own amusement, and most people don't consider it important for national pride.

If you don't believe that - then look at cricket has improved the more it has tried to widen its appeal and draw its players from a wider base.

Oh and we produce plenty of world beating boxers too...
Richard Avis, UK

It's not a matter of just a will to win, but it is skill, fitness & ability, neither of these players can keep up with the best players at the moment and I doubt they ever will. On their day they can win against any player, but so too can the top 100 players. To keep saying when they upset a top seed "they will finally go all the way this time" will doom them to failure.
Michael Johnson, Sydney, Australia

There is no doubt that both Tim and Greg are outstanding British players. They both reached the rankings of 4 th & 5th in the world at some time .

Both Tim and Greg can play their part on and off the court to assist in promoting the sport further . Their recent relative success must not be ignored or undermined and I wish them all the best in the future .
Josph Nasser, Lebanon

Yes, it's nice to have winners on the world stage, but it's surely sporting to applaud the other man or team when clearly superior. It surely doesn't matter, as long as it's a good exciting game. Tim Henman loses tennis matches. But so do everybody else.That's part of life.

Applaud Pat Rafter for playing so well that he didn't give Tim Henman any chance to settle into the match or play well at any stage. It's easy to say that Henman fell apart, and not the real reasons why. Rafter was too good. It's far too easy to overhype someone, and then slate him as soon as things go wrong. .
David, UK

Both Tim and Greg are neither mentally nor physically good enough to win anything other than meaningless titles
  Chris, UK

Britain still insists on congratulating failure. Once we understand that it is the winning that counts and not the taking part we may be a more successful sporting nation.
Bruce, England

Henman or Rusedski may, one day, keep their concentration going long enough to win a Grand Slam event. But the more serious question, is, why are they alone in the top 100? How many other British players, male or female, have progressed beyond the qualifying stages of an ATP or WTA tournament? No French player has won a Grand Slam since Yannick Noah won in Paris, but at least they can cheer their Davis Cup team, and have plenty of players in all major tournaments.

So the question should not be "Why have Tim and Greg failed?" It should be "How on earth did they manage to succeed in a country which should, from its wealth and sporting tradition, produce as many good players as France, Spain, Germany or Sweden, but is, content to preserve the traditional atmosphere at Wimbledon, with strawberries and cream, and plenty of exciting foreigners to entertain the spectators?"
Charles, France

Tim and Greg both have the ability to beat the top players, but they seem to have the very British attitude, of being "determined not to lose" which is exactly what happens to them. If they had more confidence in their own ability then maybe they would win. Henman admitted that he was not good enough to beat Pat Rafter, well if he thinks like that he's lost the game even before its begun.
Chris, UK

Both Tim and Greg are good tennis players, just not good enough. They are neither mentally nor physically good enough to win anything other than meaningless titles. Both crumbled to their mentally stronger opposition in the Australian Open and it's not for the first time.
Tim, England

Tim is talented, crafty, clever and skilled enough but seems not to have that killer instinct
  Marj, England
The competitive spirit here in the United States seems to stem from fierce sporting competitions at the high school level. In Britain this seems to be lost now and the teams never seem to even make a ripple internationally anymore.
Mark, USA (ex. UK)

Real tennis champions have the ability to win matches when they are playing badly. This is something that neither Tim or Greg have. They are both outstanding players but they will only win the grand slams if they have an outstanding run of good form. There is also so many good men's singles players at present which makes the process of winning a major very difficult.
Ryan, England

Tim is talented, crafty, clever and skilled enough but seems not to have that killer instinct that once his prey is in sight not to let up until he not only has it in his grasp but has killed it and consumed it!!! Is he overwhelmed by what he and we know he can achieve? He forgets that he has to win each round - each battle - before he finally drinks from the cup of victory!!! If he doesn't at least get to a Slam final this year, then I don't think he will win one.
Marj, England

An Australian hasn't won their own tournament for over 20 years, and by far they are a greater tennis playing nation than ourselves
  Jason, UK
I don't think it is either a question of being unlucky or, indeed, not being good enough. As far as Henman is concerned, I really do think he should look at the coaching situation. Perhaps he should do what Middlesbrough have done with Terry Venables, then he could still retain David Felgate but get some fresh ideas from someone else! I feel Greg is the more likely to win a Grand Slam. He is content to get this far at the Australian because, really, since June 1998 when he fell over at Queens, he has never really been injury free. Also, last year he not had injuries to contend with but a problem with confidence, so far it looks like Cash and his team have done a pretty good job on both. I think we should still watch this space, they certainly both have the ability to do it!
Carole, England

The public forget that up until five or six years ago we didn't have anyone in the world's top 100 let alone the top 10. Of course we would all love either of them to win a Grand Slam, but I don't think the public appreciate the competiveness of the competition by doing so. An Australian hasn't won their own tournament for over 20 years, and by far they are a greater tennis playing nation than ourselves. I don't hear the press and their public complaining. Apart from Rafter they have no one recently who has a Grand Slam success!!! People should remember that in 4 to 5 years Henman and Rusedski might have retired then who are we going to support!!
Jason, UK

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