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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 October 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Henman comeback put on hold again
Tim Henman
Henman is close to losing his status as British number one
Tim Henman has withdrawn from the Japan Open starting on Monday because of lingering problems with his back.

The British number one has not played since losing in the first round of the US Open in August.

"I've been training and practising this week and my back feels pretty good," he said. "The trouble is I haven't been able to really push myself.

"Obviously I want to have been able to do that before I start playing matches again," added the 31-year-old.

"It's a lot better than it was last week and I'd say it's about 85% now.

"I don't think it would be sensible to rush back a week too early just for the sake of one event, as I've got to really keep an eye on the big picture.

"I want to try and make sure that when I do compete again it's when I'm good and ready, and I need to be confident that I'm going to be able to play a few matches back-to-back without any adverse effects.

I want to try and play as many tournaments as I can between now and the end of the year
Tim Henman

"That said, I'm pleased with the progress I'm making at the moment."

Henman is very close to losing his status as British number one.

He is 28th in the latest world rankings, with Greg Rusedski just one place behind him.

Henman said: "My aim now is to be ready to play as soon as possible, as I want to try and play as many tournaments as I can between now and the end of the year.

"That will give me a good opportunity to see exactly where I stand so that I can work on the appropriate areas of my game in the off-season ready for next year."

Henman was forced to pull out of the Thailand Open because of his back problem.

That handed his British compatriot Andy Murray his place in the draw for the Bangkok event.

The Scot went on to reach the final, where he was beaten by world number one Roger Federer.


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