Four famous wins and a wedding
Tim Henman presents an account of his wonderful Wimbledon fortnight
Sunday 07 July 1996
Tuesday 25 June: I like routines and tried to follow a similar pattern every day - get to the grounds early, practise, shower and have lunch with my coach, David Felgate, where we have a chance to run over some final tactics. I remember the Kafelnikov match very clearly and felt comfortable from the moment I walked on to Centre Court. The crowd were unbelievably supportive and played an important part in me winning. In the evening, as with every other night, I went to eat at the IMG headquarters just up the road from Wimbledon and took a courtesy car back to my flat.
Wednesday 26 June: I was tired after the Kafelnikov match and was surprised that I had to play again the next day. But, by winning, I had created an opportunity in the draw and was anxious to take advantage of it. I knew I wouldn't be playing Danny Sapsford much before 4.00 today so I ate lunch before practising this time. We were forced to stop the match with me a set up and level at 5-5 in the second set, which gave me a chance to watch the end of England's Euro 96 semi-final against Germany. I had watched all of the other games but only thought about this one when the crowd cheered for England's goal during my match with Danny.
Thursday 27 June: I knew I had to start well when we resumed the match today, but so did Danny and he did enough to take the second set on a tie-break. But I played impressively to win the next two sets. I was not tired at all because I was so pleased to be through to the third round, but I did not dwell on my win. I knew instantly I had to start looking to my next match in order to stay focused. I think that was vital to my success.
Friday 28 June: Today I was back on Centre Court facing another Brit in Luke Milligan - it was a big day for both of us. Being more familiar with the crowd and surroundings, I knew I had to stamp my authority from the outset. I was able to put him under pressure and not let him settle down, and got within one game of winning before the rain came down. These are not easy situations but there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Saturday 29 June: I prepared in the morning as if I might have to play two more sets, but I came out on court and did a professional job by winning the match in one game. I didn't read any newspapers throughout my run because I did not want to be distracted, but I could not escape the interest I was creating. By now, I was being noticed wherever I went and there were frequent mentions of me on the radio and television.
Sunday 30 June: I spent most of the day with David [Felgate] and practised again at Wimbledon. I also had to meet the press to preview my fourth round game with Magnus Gustafsson and attended a Midland Bank clinic for kids at a local private court. I still felt very relaxed, but resisted the temptation to overdo it and have a drink. I knew there would be plenty of time for that afterwards.
Monday 1 July: Back on Centre Court to face Gustafsson. My preparations were similar to the Kafelnikov game in that Magnus is ranked above me. But this time I could feel that I was expected to win. I tried not to think about that because I knew I would have to play very well to beat him. The crowd were fantastic again and I was delighted to come through a winner.
Tuesday 2 July: My first full day off since the tournament began and a chance to recharge batteries. I came to Wimbledon to practise and watched a few matches but did not feel the need to get away from it all. I was left to my own devices for most of the day and spent the bulk of it at my flat, relaxing as much as possible.
Wednesday 3 July: I was due to face Todd Martin today, but spent the entire time in the locker-room waiting for the rain to stop. The No 1 locker-room is for seeds and British Davis Cup players and is a marvellously relaxed place. Todd and I get on well and we just chatted away, and watched the match between Sampras and Krajicek on television. We spoke about everything except our own match. By 7.00pm we discovered that we wouldn't be playing as the rain had set in again.
Thursday 4 July: An 11.00am start. I brought my preparations forward, but did not change anything. I do not mind early starts because we often begin at 10.00 on the tour, but I was a bit surprised so few people were there for the start of the match. It soon filled up and did not have a bearing on the outcome. I didn't feel I had anything to celebrate because I'd lost to Todd but I went into Wimbledon for a meal with David, his wife Jan and Bill Ryan, my agent at IMG. I had a few drinks as at last I could reflect on a successful 10 days.
Friday 5 July: To Warwickshire for the wedding of my Davis Cup team- mate Mark Petchey, and not a tennis ball in sight. A chance, too, to look back finally at the newspaper cuttings. It made for some nice reading.
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