Henman hits back after flak

The eyes were on Felix Mantilla beating his Spanish compatriot Carlos Moya in the final of the Samsung Open at the West Hants Club yesterday here. The mind wandered 3,250 miles east to Tashkent, where Tim Henman was in the process of winning the President's Cup, his second title of the year.

Henman, who elected to forsake the slow clay courts of Bournemouth for the medium-paced concrete of Uzbekistan, defeated Marc Rosset, the 1992 Olympic champion, 7-6, 6-4.

"Not wishing to gloat," David Felgate, Henman's coach said, "but Tim did take a bit of flak for coming here instead of playing in Bournemouth. Would he have won the title there against proven clay-courters like Mantilla and Moya?''

It was Henman's fourth final of the year. He defeated Moya in Sydney in January, having lost to Jim Courier in Qatar along the way, and was beaten by Rosset in Antwerp in February.

"Once I settled down I got in a rhythm, and mentally I was a lot stronger than when I played him in Antwerp," Henman said. "Even if I'd lost in the first round and played badly I still think I was right not to play at Bournemouth. I don't think I would have won a tournament on clay at this time of the year.''

In spite of his success yesterday, Henman will stay at No 20 in the world as a consequence of Albert Costa's victory at the Marbella Open, which safeguarded the ranking points the Spaniard won at Bournemouth last year.

Henman, who won pounds 35,000, recovered from 2-0 down in the opening set and clinched the tie-break, 7-2, winning the last five points in a row. He broke Rosset for 3-2 in the second set, after which there was little chance that the tall, big-serving Swiss would extend the contest beyond two sets.

Brits on Tour has ceased to be a jocular aside on the tennis circuit. We arrived on the south coast of England from New York, where Greg Rusedski played in the final of the United States Open last Sunday, to witness the Canadian-born British No 1 crack the world's top 10 here.

As Henman said yesterday, "We're on the up. Greg had a great two weeks at the US Open and another at Bournemouth. Now I have gone out and won a tournament. We're vying with each other.

"It doesn't depress me that my ranking hasn't improved. The important thing is that I have won another title. There are now points in the bank, and I will go up again in the next couple of weeks.

"Greg's top at the moment, but I'm aiming to overtake him soon. With the indoor season coming up, which is a good time for both of us, things are very positive.''

Rusedski's campaign was ended by Moya in Saturday's semi-finals, 6-2, 6-2. Moya, the No 1 seed, lost by the same score against Mantilla, the No 2 seed.

The third-seeded Rusedski said: "I was down to empty, mentally and physically. I hit the wall, as they say. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Carlos Moya is an excellent clay court player. If you're not 100 per cent sharp when you play him on a slow clay court, you're not going to have a chance. Even if I was fresh, it would have been a difficult match for me.''

What had he learned from the past three weeks? "I think competing is a big part. Even though I lost 6-2, 6-2 here, I still didn't give up in the match. I tried to find a way back, but Carlos was too good.

"I still have to work on things, there's no question. Once I do all that work, and keep on working, I think I can keep on rising higher and higher. That's the key to tennis really, just day in, day out work. I mean, when Lendl was No 1, he kept on working. He worked on his topspin backhand, he worked on his volley, he worked on his serve.''

Rusedski's backhand has improved immensely. "It still needs work. Some days it's very good and other days it's average, and some days it's below average.''

Is he likely to be taken by surprise finding himself on a fast indoor carpet court after the slow clay here and the medium-paced concrete at Flushing Meadow?

"No, that's going to be nice. I don't think I'll have a surprise when I hit an ace and it doesn't come back with a slice. I think I'll be pleased. Going into quick, indoor surfaces is going to be very good.

"It's a different mental demand on you, because it's quick points, and you have to make a passing shot here or there to a match, while on clay it's a mental mindset where you're going to have to get used to hitting five or six balls to set up the point to come into the net.''

His immediate plans? "I'm going to go to bed for a day and a half, celebrate for a day and a half, go to bed for a day and a half, then get ready for the Grand Slam Cup."

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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before