Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tim Urges Annual People's Sunday

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tim Urges Annual People's Sunday

Article excerpt

Byline: By Phil Casey

Tim Henman last night called for `People's Sunday' to become an annual event at Wimbledon after beating Morocco's Hicham Arazi to move into the fourth round for the ninth year in a row.

Cheered on by a fanatical partisan crowd who had queued from Saturday night for the 11,000 tickets on sale, Henman beat Arazi 7-6 6-3 3-6 6-2 on Centre Court.

The British number one recovered from 2-0 down in the fourth set to win the next six games, and thanked the crowd for their part in his revival which sets up a last-16 clash with last year's beaten finalist Mark Philippoussis.

"It's phenomenal," said Henman, who also played on the last such occasion in 1997, beating Paul Haarhuis 14-12 in the fifth set.

"I'm so lucky to have the opportunity of playing on the middle Sunday twice. In 1997 my match was on the exciting side as well and it's a phenomenal atmosphere.

"The atmosphere when I play here is great but this is different, there's no doubting that. They are true fans to be out there queueing, and down 2-0 in the fourth set they definitely helped me get kick-started and pick up my level.

"I would like it every year. We play on the middle Sunday at every other Slam but it's one of the traditions here to have a day off and I can understand how, from the organisation point of view, it's difficult.

"But when you get the opportunity to play in an atmosphere like that, it's incredible.

"I'm not criticising the fans who come the other 13 days but those here today are passionate about the game and supporting me and it's something that could be capitalised on, to give them the opportunity of coming to the most prestigious tournament in the world.

"I think it's something that's worked unbelievably well. Unfortunately it's not my decision at the moment but when I'm chairman of the All England Club, I'll bring it in! …

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