Henman’s Last US Open
by Richard Vach | August 26th, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • 41 Comments

HENMAN’S LAST US OPEN — Tim “Vanilla Slice” Henman will be playing his last US Open after announcing his retirement after next month’s Davis Cup, so to honor the Brit here is his most exciting quote: “   .” Never much for zingers, he did surprise world No. 1 Roger Federer by asking the Swiss if he wanted to practice “one last time” before Federer had learned of his announcement. “I didn’t know that because I don’t read the English papers, not every day,” Federer said. “He asked me if I wanted to practice kind of one last time. I kind of told him like, ‘What are you talking about? That’s it or what?’ So, yeah, it was kind of a different kind of a practice, I thought. Almost a bit sad to a point. It’s one of our last times we’re playing together. I think he was a wonderful player, a wonderful person. It’s always a pity when somebody like him leaves tennis. He gave everything he had. In the end, the injuries got the better of him.  He’s got a great family now, so he’s looking forward to his future now.”

UN-DO: apologies for an earlier note that has since been removed referenced Roger Federer speaking tongue-in-cheek about Tim Henman, rather than Andre Agassi who it was attributed to.


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41 Comments for Henman’s Last US Open

Anon Says:

The “had my struggles against him” quote also applied to Henman. Federer didn’t address the topic of Agassi at the press conference yesterday.


gabriel Says:

I think federer said those things about henman not about agassi…


jane Says:

Henman has been gone for a while; Agassi is retired.

Why does any of this matter? So Fed is happy and/or sad these players are gone/leaving.

What matters is how he feels about the players who ARE playing. That would be more worthy of discussion.


jane Says:

Here’s what Fed had to say yesterday about the up-and-comers:

FEDERER: Well, I think the new generations now have announced themselves since a year basically. One year ago they were still very young, not just young. But they’re all very good, you know. You could definitely tell one of them was going to definitely make the breakthrough soon. It was Djokovic that did it first, even though it looked like Murray was going to do it ahead of him. He had problems with his injuries. Who knows what he could have done at the French Open and Wimbledon, he was injured. Gasquet has been able to make a breakthrough as well making semis at Wimbledon. You always got Berdych, Baghdatis, all these other guys who can make the big breakthrough as well.
I think it’s definitely now the young guys that are pushing through. I think slowly but surely they’re also getting ready to win maybe big tournaments, like Djokovic has been able to win a couple of Masters Series this year. It’s going to be interesting to see how well they can do at the Grand Slams.

Q. Who do you think of that group will wind up being the best?
FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know honestly. I think they got similar chances, to be honest. At the moment you would have to probably say Djokovic and Murray. At the same time I like Gasquet’s game better than those. It’s my opinion. Berdych’s got a huge game. Baghdatis has announced himself already a couple years ago with the finals at the Australian Open. Then there’s other guys like maybe Del Potro who is going to come through. I think there’s going to be a few very soon, a lot of them in the top 10.


jane Says:

Of course it’s not surprise Federer likes Gasquet’s game best; everyone knows Gasquet’s been called a “baby Fed” since his style is similar.

Federer opines that “slowly but surely” these players are going to “maybe” (Fed’s word) win big tournaments.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how well they can do at the Grand Slams”, he says.

Hmmm… but wasn’t Djokovic already in the SEMIFINALS of both the French and Wimbledon? I’d say that testifies to how well he is capable of doing at slams; what remains to be seen is how he will manage his tough draw at the US Open.

Gasquet has made it deep in Slams, too,, as has Murray at the Australian.

And let’s not forget Baghdatis’s appearance in the 2006 Australian FINALS.

Federer should acknowledge that all of these players HAVE already done well at Grand Slams. All of these players have “broken through” more-or-less. What they have yet to do is to be consistent (which is maybe what Federer meant), and to get beyond what Hewitt has called “Federer phobia.”

Which of these contenders will be able to rise up and move past the great one’s aura, like Nadal has on a consistent basis?

They’ve all got game, with strengths and weaknesses. What they need is BELIEF and DESIRE.


Richard Says:

Agassi was very good, but I wasn’t aware that Federer had lost to him that many times. Those losses must have happened before Federer was really recognized.


Shital Green Says:

gabriel,
You are right because Henman beat Fed twice at Basel, his home court, and once at Wimby. The head-to-head match-up stands at 7-6, Federer leading.

Richard,
Fed lost to Agassi onl 3 times. The head-to-head match-up beween them is 8-3. All the 3 losses were before 2003.

jane,
Good to see you back after a brief disappearance.
You are right we should be talking more about the future than of the past. In the last blog, we talked a little bit about the upcoming players. But not enough. Djoko remains my pick for now, but, as you say, Nadal has been the most consistent. About Murray, we have yet to see him healthy. Baghdatis has already proven to make “break through” and can surprise us more at this US Open. There is a whole Del Potro-Querrey-Monaco generation showing some real promise.


Tim Says:

that was about henman, not agassi! change it its a mistake.. read the presser again…

Fed beat agassi like a drum, at the Masters, at the Open twice and in Australia too…


mel Says:

another federer-bashing article trying to be subtle. i wonder why the editors of this site hate fed so much…


jane Says:

mel,

precisely how is this a “federer bashing” article? It may be inaccurate and banal, but it hardly “bashes” the world number one.

indeed, the entire content hinges on the great one’s opinions about players of the past (well, for all intents and purposes dear tim is of the past, no?)

and even if it WAS a federer bashing article – who cares? that’s what’s so great about the internet. people can express different opinions. it’s democratic and all, ya know?

if you want to hear about how fantastic federer is, then just look pretty much EVERYWHERE else, including reading most of the postings on this site, listening to commentators, watching Gillette ads, whatever it takes to reassure.

meantime, i’ll be here provoking.

hi shital green.


Tejuz Says:

Jane.. if u read the quote carefully Fed has acknowledged that these new players have made some breakthroughs. If he mentioned about how well they would do at slams.. it meant if they can win the slams, just like they won the Masters Series titles (Berdych at Paris, Djokovic at Miami and Montreal). Certainly they did do well to reach quarters or semis .. but unless they win slams and constantly reach finals like Nadal, they will just remain that.. ‘Rest of the pack’. Nadal has reached 5 Grand slam finals at 21, won 3 of them.. all against federer.. so as of now definitely he has better chances than rest of ‘em.


Tejuz Says:

And well.. my opinion.. Djoko’s game is nothin more spectacular than Murray, Gasquet or Baggy. He has been more consistent as of late and Murray got injured.


Tejuz Says:

Djoko could be a good top-5 player in the future.. and i guess the No 1 ranking will keep shifting all year round once Federer goes in 4 or more years… between Nadal, Djoko, Murray, Baggy.. certainly Nadal would gain his points once its clay-court time.


jane Says:

Tejuz,

Fair enough – perhaps you can interpret precisely what Federer means better than I, but I just thought he should acknowledge that these young guns HAVE gone deep, and done well, in slams.

If it’s about winning them, that’s another issue.

If it’s about consistency, that’s another issue still.

Djok’s closest to Nadal, in terms of both of the issues that Federer didn’t deal with explicitly (as far as I could interpret anyhow) but which I mention above.

It’ll be interesting to see which – indeed if any – of these players can go deep at the Open, and which – if any – can challenge Federer or Nadal.


jane Says:

But at least there is Federer vs. Nadal, providing both of them keep up their dominance, and providing Nadal “breaks through” in a hard court slam.

Close rivalries, I always say, are what make the sport fun to watch. We need more players who can challenge the top players – but especially Federer, who has over-dominated for too long – and do so consistently. More close rivalries equals more fun for tennis fans AND more tennis fans period.

And the head of the ATP agrees:

““Great athletes define a sport, but great rivalries lift a sport to unprecedented levels. You’ve got a great character, like a Muhammad Ali — that defines a sport. But introduce a Foreman or a Frazier, and that lifts that sport to a whole new level,” said the head of the ATP, Etienne de Villiers.

“It’s two very different athletes that practice their trade very differently, and I see it being a huge factor in the interest that we’ve had in the sport the last two years.”

One player winning all the time equals predicability, which is safe and reassuring, but a bit of a bore really.


Dancevic FAN! Says:

Wow, Federer said “Good Riddance”!??! Hehe, well nice paraphrase, but a younger Agassi vs. today’s Federer would be a great match to watch. Even in Agassi’s twilight they had a great 2004 U.S. Open final.

Speaking of American players, it’s too bad they didn’t give Sam Querry any on-air interview time during Arthur Ashe’s kids today at the U.S. Open today.


Tejuz Says:

Jane.. true that rivalries lifts the sport to unprecedented levels. But for something to be called rivalry, there has to be 2 or at the max 3 players competing consistently at the highest level for years to come. If there are more than 3, then its not rivalry.. rather it will be a very open tournament like the ladies tennis nowadays. But i dont find the ladies tennis as interesting as mens.


Tejuz Says:

Fed vs Nadal has become a rivalry because both keep coming in the way of the other to acheive something very great.


grendel Says:

Tejuz, Federer go in “4 or more years” – careful, you’ll give Jane a heart attack! I think she is hoping for something a little more imminent….

Meanwhile Jane, you might consider this: uneasy lies the head on which rests the crown. Everyone’s after it, and half the fun is to witness the ensuing scrimmage.

Fed’s being pressed hard, and he’s only going to get pressed harder. It’s exciting whatever your perspective, and if Federer withstands the assault of the young guns – at least for a bit – I maintain that is exciting too, especially since people are beginning to sniff regime change.

They may be mistaken……


Kash Says:

“One player winning all the time equals predicability, which is safe and reassuring, but a bit of a bore really.”

I think it is a bit tragic if someone thinks so and is actually passionate about tennis. If it is a casual fan who likes watching tennis because maria is pretty or safin is handsome, then no harm done but a tennis enthusiast thinking so does not make sense to me.

It is a bit like some techy/physics guy saying “Einstein’s work is boring”. In about 20 odd yrs of tennis watching, I have not seen a guy make lesser mistakes tactically on a tennis court than federer in his domination. It is a revelation to see a tennis genius at work. If you need to brand such a thing boring, it would take a more substantial reason than something superficial like lack of drama. I do concede it is the casual fan who might be running the game but then the comment-making should be left to the experts and all of them save mats wilander are in awe of federer.

Guess that is the downside of democracy! Everyone is an expert. Genius I guess does not get appreciated in its time. Hopefully someone will show you the “genius” side of federer’s game!


jane Says:

Kash,

Well, I’d hardly compare physics to tennis.

And while I appreciate the good looks of those tennis players you mention, I’ve been watching the sport since I was 13, a long time ago, back when Mac and Lendl – and gosh, others too! – were duking it out. So I’d hardly call myself “casual” – I’m here aren’t I?

And how can you say Fed’s genius is not apprecited in its time??!! Sheesh! It’s all anyone who watches or reads about tennis hears.

Democracy does not mean everyone is an expert either; it means everyone has a right to voice his or her opinion. I think Fed’s dominance is boring. That’s my opinion.

I did not say I don’t appreciate his talent; what I don’t appreciate is the predictability of him winning all the time – talent or no. I want to see OTHER PLAYERS win occasionally. I am not saying Federer should be banished from the court. I’m simply saying it’d be nice to see change and variety.


jane Says:

Grendel,

A royalist you may be, but I say “off with his head!”

A changing of the guard/regime/whatever is indeed what is needed, and 4 more years of Federer wouldn’t give me a heart-attack, just a ROYAL headache.

I’ll be around long after Federer’s gone from the game, still watching tennis.


Shital Green Says:

Tejuz,
I don’t think Fed will be able to maintain the same domination another “4 or more years.” I don’t think he will win a slam at the age of 30 or 31 like Sampras did, though he may surpass Sampras in slam counts.
By the way, one correction, Nadal didn’t win “3 of them.. all against federer.” Nadal took Fed out in semi in 2005 French Open.
If Nadal had been just a lay courter, he would not be Fed’s rival. Fed and Nadal are 2-2 on hard court, between 2004 Miami and 2006 Shanghai.
I didn’t understand when you said, “Djoko could be a good top-5 player in the future.” Djoko is irreplaceable no. 3 right now, not top-5 in the future. I hope he will be either 1 or 2 within a year from now.
I am not sure Fed can produce better year than he did in 2006 (92-5).


jane Says:

One more thing Kash:

You use the word “tragic” to describe those who do not relish Federer’s domination, and then a couple of sentences later you call the desire for “drama” in sport “superficial.”

Recheck your logic. Tragedy IS a form of drama. So your use of the word “tragic” suggests your own view’s superficiality – if in fact either opinion is superficial, that is.

Personally, I think there is room for both and more – be they from “casual” or “seasoned” fans or followers.

Perhaps you should be a little more, ahem, democratic?


Tejuz Says:

Shital Green .. sorry, i got my facts a lil wrong there about Nadal’s win against Fed. But well.. he did overcome Fed in his 3 GS wins and also lost 2 finals to Fed. I agree Nadal is more closer to Fed than say Djokovic is to Nadal. Also Nadal has proved it for last 3 years now.. so no denying that he can keep it up for few more years. But Djokovic has had a great year till now.. but he still has to maintain it .. if not better it if he has to be called a No 2 or No 1. He has talent, no doubt.. but so have other yougsters. To me he is no more exceptional than the rest of the pack but he has been consistent this year. Also Djoko is not a irreplacable No 3 as yet. He is much more closer to being dislodged from his ranking than say Fed or Nadal. Lets see if he can keep his level up.

Regarding Fed not being No 1 for 4 years… well.. he might lose his No 1 ranking for a few weeks in between .. but he is too good a player to not bounce back and reclaim his position at the top.


Julie Says:

Please correct your mistake. Roger federer said these about Tim Henman, not Andre Agassi. Agassi never beat Federer at Wimbledon.


grendel Says:

Jane, my point really was: there can’t be a slaying of the king if there is no king.

So the drama here (leaving aside quality of play)is whether the king can withstand the assaults of the pretenders, or if one of them takes him down.

In a good story, you need a villain as well as a hero. When Sampras was king, noone really challenged him. For a while, noone challenged Fed. But if Fed stays on top for 4 more years, this won’t be at all tedious, because he will be constantly under challenge. Actually, if you think about it, it will be extraordinary – to withstand that sort of pressure for so long.


Kash Says:

Jane:

Why not compare physics with tennis? Both are skills that humans develop and exhibit. Their reach and influence is another issue but do you not agree that they can be compared on the lines that they are skill sets we try to acquire?

Again, if someone who just watches the game at a superficial level thinks federer is boring because of lack of dramatic matches, I get it. If you are passionate about the game and watch every point of a match from a tennis enthusiast view, how is federer’s game predictable or boring? How can you not appreciate how he constructs a point, game or set? How he adapts to the opponent’s game and the conditions of the day and court. Yes there is space for both casual and enthusiasts, but when enthusiasts slam a great champion who exhibits the best the game that they (the enthusiasts) are passionate about, then something is amiss.

It is like asking for a circus display on the side to make a beethoven/mozart concert more appealing to a music die-hard!

I do not think there is a fallacy in my logic. I do think, it is superficial if you are watching for drama when someone is plying their trade. I am not saying that is good or bad, because we have different interests in life. All I am saying is a die-hard of the game not being able to appreciate someone who plays the game as good as anyone else thus far has, does not make sense to me. When I say such a thing is tragic, I am merely stating what is rather than what I want it to be.

I do agree federer gets recognition, which is how it should be.


jane Says:

Kash,

It’s logically problematic to compare a scientific field to a competitive sport, especially when the issue at hand is winning predictability. Enstein wasn’t “winning” anythng; he was “discovering” stuff, like relativity – see the difference? Not to mention that he would work more-or-less alone while Federer could not be a tennis star without others to compete against.

It’s like your circus and mozart comparison – logically amiss once again. Circus’s aren’t even about music! Throw punk in there and I’ll give it to you, but of course I like punk.

And to say, “well drama isn’t even about tennis” is, of course, ridiculous – and clearly where we disagree – because that’s one of the main reasons why MANY sports fans love watching sports – the drama, the tension, the excitement. It’s not ONLY about skills, although they play an important part in it too.

Now regarding skills – apparently I have to repeat my previous post – I wasn’t talking about boredom over watching Fed’s skills or talent, or heck, genius; I was talking about boredom over match/tournament outcome predictability. You see the difference? For instance, the Wimbledon final – now THAT was beautiful tennis – very tightly fought, anyone’s match really up until Rafa missed his 2nd break chance in the 5th set! Fantastic talent by both. Similarly, the Djokovic / Fed final in Canada – a great match! Compare that to the Fed/Blake final in Cinncy, which was typical of several of Fed’s match – a rout. Boring. Yawn. Might’ve stayed in bed; saw that loss/win coming a MILE away.

While I am watching a match, I’ll often say – and often aloud to the annoyance of those with me – “what a shot!” about one of Fed’s amazing gets. But I still agonize IF he has ploughed his way through another draw, pummeling the other players on the way (not to mention demoralizing them), to – as usual – hoist the trophy in the end.

I often (not always) cheer for the underdog – that’s my thing, at least until there are more contenders for the throne.

I can appreciate Fed’s talent. HOWEVER, I am bored with his utter dominance.

The good thing? That’s changing….


jane Says:

Grendel,

Actually, I like stories that are not so morally black and white.

I like the gray areas, the morally ambiguous characters, the uncertainty.

Indeed, I’d say these stories – barring children’s stories which are more like you describe – are FAR more interesting.

I see a guy on a white horse and another on a black horse? Might as well close the book or turn off the tube. We all know who’s riding off into the sunset in THAT STORY.

Cheers,


jane Says:

And Kash,

Speaking of drama – Federer fanatics can be so utterly defensive, to the degree that they don’t even “read” other people’s posts if they say even the slightest thing that’s not pro-Fed (which is certainly not democratic; nor is it democratic to demean a tennis enthusiast if he/she does not want the sport to be one-sided: to use a political metaphor – a dictatorship.) Can’t other opinions be valid?

Cases in point?

1.) Mel’s calling this article “Federer Bashing” – it’s not; it doesn’t

2.) Your implying that I (or any enthusiast who is bored of the almost complete dominance of the game) have “slammed” a great champion. Re-read my posts: I say nothing negative about Federer’s talent or skills, nor do I say I don’t appreciate them.


grendel Says:

Fanaticism works both ways. There is something about Federer – or perhaps, more likely, his achievements – which provokes extreme partisanship on both sides of the fence. Few of us who take a position here are innocent.

But if you like the grey areas, ambiguous situations, Jane, then you are going to be disappointed by Nadal or Djokovic. The king is dead; long live the king. That’s what they want.


jane Says:

Grendel,

Okay – I’m a fanatic for the underdog, but not any ONE particular underdog. So there’s a difference. I don’t take offense when people cheer Fed, nor do I take offense (or think it’s tragic) if someone critiques Rafa or Novak. It’s not so EXTREME.

Nadal or Djokovic will likely not dominate like Federer has even if (hopefully when) they do become King (for a day, a week, a year, maybe two years) as there are so many young players on the rise. That’s what will make the contention for the throne/hero position/white horse more exciting.


jane Says:

Grendel,

We need more uncertainty in the game in terms of winners & kings, not that there won’t BE any. Of course there will, but it’d be nice if there were more candidates, you know?

See Sean Randall’s posting “Federer the easy pick for the Open.”

I hope he’s wrong.


mind you Says:

1. Fed said that about haman get the facts right.

2.let me try to get it, is borhing when you know fed is going to win, and it’s isn’t When you know nadal is going to win??!!!!!!!

WERE THE CLAY TURMENT BORHING TO YOU, AS YOU SAID THAT YOU DON’T LIKE WHEN YOU KNOW THE END RESULT??

so YOU HAD BORHINg game+ you know the end result- that must have been really hard for you to watch right??

3. let me understand You liked the matchs when Fed didn’t play well, becouse it was close as he could have lost of have lost them??

so any match fed loses is a great match for you no mather about the tennis.

I am a fed fan, and I must say I have no problem with Djoko win (I like him a lot)and he deserve to win in the end, But fed played sh*t, he shocked in the 1 set , like he chock, v nadal in the 2006 franch open in the 2 set when he gave the point away to nadal after being 40-0. he chocked like he chocked v blake at the us open 2006 the 3 set, usually it doesn’t cost him this time he did .

djoko played the bether match but fed didn’t play that well, But I rather see fed v djoko and fed losing to djoko then nadal .

Wimbledon final was 1 of the worst matchs I have seen fed play In wimbldon, he was stupid stupid stupid, I was so mad at him after doring the match, what was in his head I don’t know (I wan’t mad about the franch as for me he played the right tctic just didn’t bring his best game at that day- so I was ok with it)

He totaly forgot that he had a shot that is called slice, and it’s the 2 most importnet shot on grass, I couldn’t belive it, that was dam much from him tacticly,

when he remeber he had the slice in the 5 set all changed and was the same in 2006 final.

and I don’t know what you said after the sw19 final – but the tennis knowlege of teh exspert amazes me, Why were they suprise By fed serve in the 5 set espechlly that serve he used to save the break point, It’s my fevorit serve of him, and he uses it more in sw19, go a watch sometimes some on his match and the break points he saved in sw19 and see the serve:

it’s the dammy serve, players can’t see it as he has the sme ball toss and they think he is going to ckick wide and he goes to the T (I for some reson can see it, but it was proven time and time again the post players can’t).

It’s all about the tennis, I don’t care about the score I want good tennis, and good tennis have Nothing to do with exsitment.


grendel Says:

I respect your position, Mind You, but it requires more knowledge of the intricacies of the game of tennis than I, for one, have.

But I don’t see that pleasure from watching good tennis, and excitement, and yes, partisanship too, have to be in opposition to each other.


JCF Says:

Is tennis-x hiring copy editors? I happen to be looking for employment if you’re interested.


jane Says:

Mind You,

I find it a little difficult to follow your posting due to language and writing errors.

However, I can discern this much: we differ in our opinions about Federer’s dominance.

So be it: I agree to disagree.


Richard Vach Says:

That was an error and it was removed, the reference was to henman and not Agassi, apologies all around. I sat in on that conference and hadn’t had enough coffee.


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