Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Serving Up Treat for Fans

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Serving Up Treat for Fans

Article excerpt

With two days to go until the start of Wimbledon, Tim Henman (pictured) is looking tanned and feeling confident.

"In the last seven or eight months my game has probably improved more than it has in the past seven or eight years," he explains.

"I couldn't be more excited or optimistic."

Tim credits good old-fashioned hard work for the improvements in his tennis, but says his on-court attitude has changed too.

"I think I ended up almost trying too hard before and putting too much pressure on myself to win, which restricted my performance.

"I look at how I played at Wimbledon last year and in 2002 and, at my level, I couldn't have played any worse.

"Now I feel more relaxed on court which lets you play more freely. I think I'm capable of beating anyone. Being a dad, and working with my new coach Paul Annacone [who has coached seven-time champion Pete Sampras], has had a big impact on my game."

Tim says that since the birth of his daughter, 19-month-old Rosie, he's looked at life differently.

"Rosie's not interested in whether I've won or lost, or had a good or bad day. She wants your undivided attention, her food, bottle or whatever. It's a good way of keeping things in perspective."

Tim, 29, and wife Lucy, 32, who married in 1999, recently announced that they`re expecting their second child in December.

But between now and then he has to play some serious tennis.

"I don't fear anyone," he says. "At this level it's about finding a way to win seven matches in 14 days in the best of five sets.

"I've been in the semis a few times and there's no reason I can't go further. That means getting into the Wimbledon final ( and hopefully winning it."

Reaching the semis at this year's French Open has definitely boosted his morale.

"That was a huge breakthrough. Winning breeds winning, and I'm looking forward to building on that. …

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