Tim Henman’s win over Carlos Moya in the first round of Wimbledon 2007 may not be a signal of a return to the glory years but it demonstrated one thing – that all those who have recently called for him to retire are idiots. I knew that anyway but this really stuffs a few faces in the swill, doesn’t it?
Those who knew me well before I began this blog will know that I’ve been a fan and defender of Henman throughout his career. He has achieved amazing things. No, he hasn’t one a Grand Slam event. But you’d think he was a failure the way press and public dribble on in their ignorance. Number 4 in the world at one time. A multi-millionaire who doesn’t even think tennis is a proper job. It’s a hobby that has made him a rich man and an icon of British tennis for all time. Failure? If so, I would love to fail like he has, I really would.
Henman-Moya was an outstanding match between two wily professionals and which produced tennis that would grace the final itself. Nerve shredding, breathtaking and supreme drama all rolled into four and a bit hours of gripping matchplay tennis. Now we don’t want to get carried away here. This does not signal the beginning of Henman’s march to the championship. That is six games down the line and his opponents will get tougher and faster. And younger, in the main. His chances of winning are slim in the extreme.
Can Henman hope to make the second week? Well, yes but he’ll have to turn it on for three sets every match and that is a tough ask. This was a draining encounter, make no mistake. But he’s still there and without Murray to shout for, the crowds needed a hero. They’ve got the old one back.