Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Henman Insists: I'm Not Quitting

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Henman Insists: I'm Not Quitting

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Douglas

Tim Henman dismissed any talk of retiring after being caught on the receiving end of a hammering by unheralded Ernests Gulbis in the first round of the French Open.

The British number two was routed 6-4 6-3 6-2 by the inspired Latvian, an 18-year-old ranked 84th in the world.

After the loss, questions were naturally raised about Henman's future in the game, but the Oxford-born 32-year-old vowed to fight on.

"It would be easy to throw in the towel but it does not enter my mind," said Henman, who has struggled for form in an injury-plagued 2007.

"When you come to analysing things, you can either give up or work through these things. There is no magic secret. You just have to get on with it.

"I have to find a way of replicating my practice form into a match. That's easier said than done. But there's still a lot of excitement and expectation there. And I still enjoy competing."

In three clay-court clashes this year, Henman has not even won a set. He claimed he was hitting the ball better than ever in the practice sessions leading up to the start of Roland Garros, but he was blown away by the energy and effervescence of his much younger opponent. The nerveless Gulbis may be ranked 84th but he played like a top-20 player at times on Court Six.

Henman admitted he was sorely lacking in self-belief, and hopes to find more success in the forthcoming grass-court season.

"I will keep working but confidence is an issue," said the Briton, who was badly let down by his serve yesterday.

"And the only way you get that back is by winning matches. I have played only six or seven matches this year, and won just one match. I just have to work through it, but the last three tournaments have been difficult.

"It's fair to say I will be looking forward to getting on the grass courts. …

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