Henman gets a grip on reality

Sixty years of hurt, the Challenge Cup's still gleaming, three stripes on his shirt, but Tim Henman insists that dreaming is not for him. Henman, the last surviving British competitor in the men's singles at Wimbledon after completing his third-round win over his compatriot Luke Milligan yesterday, is being asked to take over from the England football team and bring tennis home for the first time since the last of Fred Perry's three championship wins in 1936.

While Henman, 21, assumes the assurance and maturity of a man who has been at the top of his profession for decades, he refuses to be drawn into the trap of making promises which, he reasonably fears, he will be unable to fulfil.

"I don't think I'll be dancing in the street," the British No 1 concluded after needing just one game to beat Milligan after their match had been held over by rain from Friday with Henman poised to serve for the match at 6-1 6-3 5-4.

The contest was over in five points, 124 seconds, with Henman treating the Centre Court crowd to nine shots, to Milligan's six (not including the five-minute knock-up) on his way to a fourth-round meeting with the Swede Magnus Gustafsson and the chance of becoming the first Brit to reach the quarter-finals since Roger Taylor in 1973. That, agrees Henman, is a much more realistic aim than emulating Perry, even though the bottom no longer exists in the bottom half of the draw following the demise of Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier, with Todd Martin (13th) the only seed.

Henman's words have a rare air, in a British tennis player, of professionalism and ruthlessness. He added: "I'd never gone beyond the second round before so I'm obviously happy to be in the fourth round, but I still have to concentrate on what I'm doing.

"I was very close to the finishing line overnight, but I just had to make sure I came here and prepared as normal and did a professional job. I did nothing out of the ordinary; I practised, showered and prepared as if I was going to play a normal five-set match. Obviously it was one of the shorter days I've had on court. But that's very nice, thank you."

Milligan, a Tottenham fan who liked the club so much he turned down an invitation to join Arsenal as a 12-year-old, was just happy to play a part in the first Centre Court all-British clash for 58 years, before deciding whether to accept his invitation to a Wimbledon Ball. "The Who are playing in Hyde Park? Are they really? I might have to change my plans," he said.

No such distractions, unsurprisingly, for Henman, who chose to celebrate by going home for a kip before preparing for tomorrow's adventure: "I won't do anything out of the ordinary. I'll have a few hours' extra sleep, practise and relax."

If he beats Gustafsson and continues in this vein, it will be his last chance for a rest until he retires.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss