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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Why Henman is no loser
Tim Henman pumps his first on his way to victory over Andre Sa
Henman gave his all throughout the tournament

After Tim Henman's failure to reach the Wimbledon final, those who get their kicks from knocking him down are bound to feel vindicated.

They will have another chance to say he is a loser, a bottler or just not good enough.

But they will be wrong - again.

Henman's recent record at Wimbledon is second only to Pete Sampras, who is the greatest grass-court player in the history of the game.


Henman makes the most of what he has and in my eyes that makes him a winner

Henman has reached four semi-finals in the last five years.

In two of those he was beaten by Sampras, who was almost unbeatable at the time.

Last year, in his long drawn-out semi over three days, he met an inspired Goran Ivanisevic on his run to the title.

And this year he lost to Lleyton Hewitt, the world's number one player, who put in a performance worthy of that position.

He certainly did not bottle it in any of those losses.

Immense pressure

Boris Becker summed it up perfectly in his commentary when he said: "Henman's the guy with far the most pressure on him and yet he delivers.

"He's no Pete Sampras and he's not number one in the world, but people expect him to win Wimbledon."

People may also point to Henman's performances away from Wimbledon, but his game is made for grass.

He is never going to win at Roland Garros - just like Sampras.

Pistol Pete has won more Grand Slams than any other player, but none of them has come at the French Open.

Hard worker

Henman concedes that he could do better at other tournaments, but a world ranking of five is nothing to be ashamed of.

This does not come from one tournament alone.

The truth is that Henman is by no means the most gifted player on the circuit.

There are many players who have better games than Henman, thanks to their innate natural talent.

And most of these lie below Henman in the world rankings.

The difference is that Henman makes the most of what he has.

And in my eyes that makes him a winner.

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