Tim Henman’s victory over Dimitri Tursanov late yesterday evening was like stepping back in time. All the touch, all the fluidity and all the sheer determination, balance and world class skill were there for all to see. Impending retirement certainly seems to suit Henman. Tursanov is a man he’s been beaten by five times out of six, often badly. Last night though, he gave the Russian a lesson in all court tennis. Able to aply his serve volley, chip and rush game while removing all Tursanov’s weapons – his power hitting came straight back, the points were short denying him rhythm and his serve was harrassed so badly he served a dozen double faults in four sets.
Let’s not get too excited. This is a renaissance for Henman but it is not a lasting resurgence. He will retire and he is unlikely to get past the third round where he will most likely meet Rafael Nadal. That will be a match to savour nonetheless.
If there’s one regret it is that watching Henman’s demolition of Tursanov last night reminded me of how brilliant he can be but how he has too rarely strung that sort of form together in a Grand Slam. Play like he did last night for seven matches and you win the title. I don’t think anyone believes he can do that but it shows us just what we will miss when he is gone.