"Our Tim" hangs 'em up

Riley Logo
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Call him overrated, call him underrated, Britain's Tim Henman called it a career over the weekend by winning a pair of Davis Cup rubbers against Croatia at, where else, his beloved All England Club.

"Our Tim" posted a singles victory last Friday at SW19 and paired with Jamie Murray, the brother of Britain's current top star Andy Murray, to capture the doubles rubber on Saturday at tennis' most famous venue, the home of Wimbledon. The Brits blitzed the Croats 4-1 in a playoff to secure a spot in next year's 16-nation World Group, with Henman's doubles victory giving the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five affair.

"I've had a few good scripts over the past few years, but it's just fantastic," Henman said afterwards. "For me, to finish with Britain back in the World Group is perfect."

"It's this type of occasion I'm going to miss in the future and I'm going to miss each and every one of you that supported me throughout my career. It's been an unbelievable journey for me. I've fulfilled so many of my dreams."

The 33-year-old Henman posted a 496-274 record after turning pro in 1993. He captured 11 singles titles, in 28 finals, and four doubles championships on the ATP circuit. His last singles title came in 2003, while his last appearance in a final of any kind occurred in Tokyo last season.

Tim & Rosie Henman
Tim Henman, along with his daughter Rosie, waves goodbye at the All England Club.
"Tiger Tim" exited the tour ranked 91st in the world, this after reaching a career-high No. 4 back in 2002. He finished inside the Top 10 five times, tallied more than $11.6 million in prize money and is ranked inside the Top 40 for most match wins since 1973, making him Britain's most successful player in the Open Era (or since 1968).

Sure, Henman was slowed by back problems over the last couple of years, but he's also married and now has three children at home. His wife Lucy gave birth to their third child, Grace, on September 14.

Simply put...the family's calling.

A solid grass-court performer, the serve-and-volley specialist Henman is best known for reaching a bevy of Wimbledon semifinals, but being unable to win it all, or even reach the final, at his beloved tourney. The Brits haven't boasted a male champ on the ancient lawns at the All England Club since the great Fred Perry last turned the trick way back in 1936.

Needless to say, it's been awhile.

FYI, the All England Club's Aorangi Terrace affectionately became known as "Henman Hill," where thousands of British fans would congregate in front of the large TV screen to witness Tim's annual quest for that elusive crown.

The steady Henman reached four Wimby semis in a five-year-span from 1998-2002 and appeared in at least the quarterfinals there eight times in 14 tries. He also played in one French Open and one U.S. Open semifinal, losing both, unfortunately making him 0-6 in his career major SFs.

Henman's semifinal setbacks at Wimbledon came against the likes of the legendary Pete Sampras (twice, in 1998 & 1999), Goran Ivanisevic (2001) and Lleyton Hewitt (2002). And on all four occasions, his conqueror went on to capture the coveted championship.

Tim Henman
Henman's last ATP title came at the Paris Indoors in 2003.
The lanky Henman wound up with a quality 43-14 record at the venerable AEC.

Tennis 101: Henman's grandmother, Ellen Stawell Brown, became the first woman to serve overhand at Wimbledon in 1901 and his grandfather, Henry Billington, reached the third round there in 1948, 1950 and '51.

The humble Henman, who also went 29-8 in his career Davis Cup singles rubbers, including an outstanding 29-2 mark off clay, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity, mostly through his Tim Henman Charitable Foundation.

And in July of 2004, Henman was awarded "Officer of Order of British Empire" from Queen Elizabeth II at London's Buckingham Palace for his services to our great sport.

Henman also received a nice tribute from the great Roger Federer.

"Tim deserves to go out on a high," the Swiss star said. "He spent many years under a microscope a lot of people would find unbearable in a country that loves its heroes."

"What he brought to the game was total professionalism. I wish he could have achieved what he really wanted, but he had to deal with Pete Sampras and then I came along. He has been an exemplary player and perfect father -- I count him as a good friend."

On Monday morning, Henman wrote on his website, "It seems strange to wake up this morning and have no tennis agenda."

Strange indeed, Tim, strange indeed.

Ace or double fault? Send your comments to Scott Riley at sriley@sportsnetwork.com.
Scott Riley
The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments | SportsNetworkdata.com