Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Standing Ovation Inspires Henman; Last Hurrah: Tim Henman Soaks Up the Applause from a Capacity Crowd as He Walks onto Wimbledon's Court No1 for a Final Flourish

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Standing Ovation Inspires Henman; Last Hurrah: Tim Henman Soaks Up the Applause from a Capacity Crowd as He Walks onto Wimbledon's Court No1 for a Final Flourish

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

THE stage was a familiar one but the welcome Tim Henman received atWimbledon today was extra special as the darling of British tennis strode outfor what could be his last hurrah as a professional player.

Henman has won and lost so many times on Court One, but it was his service tothe game that a capacity crowd saluted as the 33-year-old prepared to play hispart in Britain's bid for promotion to the elite world group of the Davis Cup.

By Sunday night Henman will be retired, yet the memory of the standing ovationhe received ahead of his match against Croatia's Roko Karanusic will surelylinger on.

Clearly touched, he smiled and waved as a crowd of 11,000 clapped, cheered andheld up signs that read "C'mon Tim" and "Thanks For The Memories, Tim".

The great reception lifted Henman and he claimed the opening set 6-4.

Team-mate Andy Murray had earlier captured the mood when he said: "We all wantto win for Tim." And the 20-year-old Scot, who has assumed the mantle ofBritish No1 from Henman, played his part by winning the opening rubber.

Gutsy Murray battled from a set down to beat teenager Marin Cilic in a five-setthriller to put Britain oneup in the best-of-five rubbers match.

That put the raucous crowd in the mood to hail Henman for what may prove to behis last competitive game.

Britain may have secured victory over Croatia, winners of the Davis Cup justtwo years ago, by the time Henman reappears for the final singles match onSunday, effectively making that a dead rubber.

Indeed, Henman got a lucky break even before he hit a ball in anger when hisoriginal opponent for today's match, Croatian No1 Ivan Ljubicic, withdrew thismorning with a urinary complaint.

That left him to face the less daunting threat of world No164 Karanusic, withLjubicic becoming a possible opponent on Sunday if the tie goes that far. …

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