Henman believes it is wrong time to hang up racket

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The Independent Online

Andre Agassi has already announced his, Greg Rusedski will almost certainly follow, but for Tim Henman retirement is definitely not on the agenda.

Henman admits hanging up his rackets has crossed his mind in recent years as he struggled with a back injury and saw his ranking slide from a career high of four, to outside the top 70.

The 31-year-old also realises his chances of Wimbledon glory have all but disappeared, especially with Roger Federer in the form which saw him humble Henman 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 on Centre Court on Wednesday.

However, reaching the semi-finals of the Stella Artois Championships earlier this month, and the prospect of playing injury-free for the first time in years have given the British No 3 the motivation to carry on playing.

"I'll enjoy a bit of a break and then I've got to keep working and get ready for the rest of the summer," Henman said.

"This time last year I played a few tournaments but I was in such poor shape physically with my back.

"I want to take advantage [of being fit] and see how far that can take me between now and the end of the year."

Henman's ranking is likely to remain close to his current position of 64th as he also lost in the second round at the All England Club last year, but that means he is unlikely to qualify automatically for the Masters Series events before the US Open.

"We'll wait and see on that front," added Henman, presumably pinning his hopes on a wild card. "I expect to be playing Washington, Toronto and Cincinnati."

Federer urged Henman to return to Wimbledon for at least one more year, suggesting the four-time semi-finalist could extend his career by several years by playing a limited schedule.

"It depends on what you're trying to achieve, but I love what I do," Henman added.

"I still think there are plenty of challenges for me. I don't think it would be to my benefit cutting down my schedule."

Henman was unseeded at Wimbledon this year for the first time since 1996, hence facing Federer, the top seed and defending champion, so early.

The former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker said: "Against Roger Federer better players than Tim have lost easily. It's really unfortunate. The problem is that Tim was not seeded this year. He could beat three-quarters of the players in the draw but not Roger.

"Absolutely he should come back for at least one more year. It's the best job in the world.

"It's just frustrating. He is emotionally down now thinking 'This is my favourite tournament and I'm out on a Wednesday evening.' This is wrong.

"Emotionally he is going to be contemplating [his defeat] but in his right frame of mind he should come back and have fun with it.

"He's healthy and played very well at Queen's Club. He should look for more matches and more tournaments."

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