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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 10:59 GMT
Murray deserves top spot - Henman
Tim Henman
Henman is ranked 49 in the world, seven places behind Murray
Tim Henman has paid a glowing tribute to Andy Murray after the 18-year-old replaced him as British number one.

Henman is now the third-ranked British player behind Murray and Greg Rusedski.

"One thing's for sure, he thoroughly deserves it," Henman told BBC Five Live. "Since Queen's last year he's played fantastically well.

"I'd much rather be British number one than number three, but I've had that spot for seven or eight years so it's not really the most important thing."

Henman is playing in Dubai this week, and faces seventh seed Radek Stepanek in the second round on Wednesday as he looks to move back up the rankings.

"As (Murray) said, we're much more interested in our world ranking," said Henman.

"I think we're the only country in the world that pays any attention to (national rankings).

It's inevitable that sometimes you're going to have a bit of criticism and I don't think it does you any favours
Tim Henman

"You don't hear Roger Federer being called the Swiss number one or Rafael Nadal being called the Spanish number one."

Henman conceded that the interest surrounding Murray is understandable but warned against putting too much pressure on the teenager.

"He's learning so quickly and he's improving every week, so I think it's right that everyone does expect big things but it's important that people do remain patient," said Henman.

"He's got such a long career ahead of him there's definitely going to be a few bumps in the road, but I think there's going to be a lot of excitement as well."

And Henman insists regular back problems have not lessened his motivation, with Wimbledon still the high-point of his year despite increased cynicism towards his chances from some quarters.

"It's not getting any easier and I've got to be healthy but with my record there over the eight or nine last years, it's still somewhere that I've got a lot of confidence," he said.

"Grass has been a pretty good surface for me so fingers crossed I can have another good run and see how I can do.

"It's inevitable that sometimes you're going to have a bit of criticism and I don't think it does you any favours.

"I've had a good record there but I want to win it more than anyone.

"That would be my ultimate ambition but you've got to keep doing it as best you can."


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