Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tim Seeks Cure to Form Slump

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tim Seeks Cure to Form Slump

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Bech

Poor run continues as Henman crashes out of Artois

Tim Henman crashed out of the Artois Championships yesterday admitting his atrocious form has left him "in a rut" from which he is determined to emerge at the Nottingham Open.

Henman exited Queen's Club ( traditionally a happy hunting ground for the British number two ( at the first hurdle following a 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 4-6 defeat to Croatian wildcard Marin Cilic.

Once again a lack of confidence undermined the 32-year-old, who appeared to be coasting in the third set before his talented, if erratic, teenage opponent hit back.

It was the sixth time in seven tournaments this season Henman has lost in the first round and he will decamp to Nottingham next week in search of the elusive win that will revive confidence before Wimbledon begins on June 25.

"I'm in a rut right now and I've lost a lot of matches. I would love to play horrendously and win," he said. "I don't want to keep hitting the ball well and losing. People talk about getting on a roll, when winning becomes a habit, but the same is true with losing. I've been doing a lot of losing recently and I've got to try and break through that."

Henman, competing in his 14th successive Artois Championships, admits he is negotiating one of the trickiest spells of his career and insists his fortunes will only improve with hard work.

"I think first and foremost it's a confidence thing. Obviously not playing enough matches and not winning them doesn't help," he said. "I would love it if there was one specific magic ingredient I could change, but it doesn't exist.

"I've played long enough to understand I am going through a difficult spell right now and the only way to come through it is working hard."

Cilic, 18 and ranked 110 in the world, was delighted with his first victory on grass since starting on the ATP tour last year but sensed Henman was struggling for form. "Tim didn't seem to play the best he can, but then this is the first round and it can de difficult to get going sometimes," he said. …

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