Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Reasons for Quitting Davis Cup

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Reasons for Quitting Davis Cup

Article excerpt


TIM HENMAN today announced his retirement from Davis Cup tennis, dealing a potentially calamitous blow to British tennis in the process.

On his personal website, the British No1 chose to reveal the decision to quit the Cup after an exceptional 10-year career, citing his desire to concentrate on winning a major individual title as the main reason.

The news, which came after Henman lost 6-4, 6-2 to Roger Federer at the Kooyong Invitational in Melbourne today, represents a huge setback for domestic tennis since only his displays for his country, allied to his Davis Cup partnership with Greg Rusedski, have brought respectability for Britain in the world's top team event over the past decade.

It now makes life impossibly difficult for British captain Jeremy Bates, who faces the near-hopeless task of steering his team back into the World Group of elite tennis nations without the country's tennis icon and possibly also Rusedski, whose future is also far from certain.

It did not stop Bates paying a warm tribute this afternoon.

"Tim's magnificent record speaks for itself and while it is a great loss I completely understand and respect his decision to retire from Davis Cup and focus on the grand slams and tour," he said.

Nonetheless, others will find it harder to accept Henman's decision. They will believe that turning out to represent his country just a couple of times a year in the Davis Cup hardly remains too onerous an obligation. Clearly, though, Henman at 30 has decided that he must now concentrate all his energies on his own personal ambitions in the twilight of his career, especially after enjoying a 2004 season which may well have been his most successful so far.

Obviously, believing that winning a Grand Slam rather than adding to his sterling Davis Cup record is the way his career will be defined, Henman, currently warming up for the Australian Open, is in confident mood after reaching the semi-finals of the French and US Opens last year and once again reaching the last eight at Wimbledon.

"At this stage in my career the combination of the Davis Cup format and the rigours of the ATP tour have made it necessary for me to make this decision," he wrote on his personal website. …

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