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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Henman happy to avoid exit
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tim Henman

Tim Henman admitted he was relieved to have avoided an upset after struggling past lucky loser Tomas Zib in four sets on day two of Wimbledon.

The British number one saw defending champion Lleyton Hewitt crash out to qualifier Ivo Karlovic on Monday and said that it had played on his mind as he prepared to face his little-known Czech opponent.

"It felt good to come through with the win," he said.

"After seeing Lleyton go out, it really puts you on your guard. My opponent didn't exactly have a grass-court record and didn't have a lot of experience in Grand Slams.

"But Karlovic emphasised that all those guys in the top 200 or 250 can play."

Henman took the first set with ease but then dramatically lost rhythm on his serve.

Though he edged out the second set on a tiebreak, he was broken twice in the third before eventually taking the match in the fourth set.

Why haven't I progressed further? The bottom line is that I haven't been good enough
Tim Henman

"I thought I started well," said Henman. "End of the second set and in the third, it turned into a bit of a dogfight but I was pleased with the way I finished it off. "

Henman, who faces unseeded Frenchman Michael Llodra in the second round on Thursday, said he was feeling more relaxed than ever at this year's Championships, despite the pressure on him to lift his first title at the All England Club.

"This year has obviously been a bit different for me," he said, referring to the shoulder injury which wrecked the beginning of his season.

"I don't know what it is, but I do feel pretty relaxed. Wimbledon is what I play the game for and walking out onto Court One today, I was ready to have fun."

And a surprisingly candid Henman also had an answer to those who have criticised his inability to win Wimbledon thus far.

"Why haven't I progressed further? The bottom line is that I haven't been good enough," he said.

"The only frustration is that when you give your best, you can't really ask for any more. That's when you feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall."

Over on Centre Court, Britain's Jamie Delgado had the crowd enthralled as he took a set from world number one Andre Agassi before succumbing in four.

Agassi said he was pleased to have had a test in his opening match at Wimbledon.

"Just getting through the first one is the highest priority," said Agassi, perhaps also recalling Hewitt's defeat.

"But I came up against a guy that was actually putting up some good resistance out there. He stepped it up right from the get-go and really deserved the third set."

In the end it was another disappointment for British fans, who also saw Elena Baltacha edged out in three sets by 11th seed Jelena Dokic and Alex Bogdanovic dumped out in straight sets.

But the men amongst them might have been cheered by the sight of Maria Sharapova, awarded a wildcard for the Championships, progressing on Tuesday at the expense of fellow teenager Ashley Harkleroad.

Their match was watched by a large contingent of journalists - both players have been shouldered with the burden of being the "new Anna Kournikova".

But the level-headed Sharapova said she was not concerned with the comparisons with her fellow Russian.

"I just do my own thing," she said emphatically. "I just worry about myself and don't try to be whoever else."





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