Henman has to stay cool in warm-up for Roddick

It was overcast and chilly at the Westside Tennis Club here yesterday morning when Tim Henman went out to practice for the Masters Cup. Given the forecast of rain over the next few days, the British No 1 was just pleased to be hitting the ball.

President Bush's family are particularly influential in these parts, but can do nothing about the weather. The same goes for their pal Jim McIngvale, a furniture tycoon rejoicing in the nickname "Mattress Mack", who built and owns the splendid tennis club.

This is McIngvale's second and concluding presentation of the Masters Cup, which is staged on an outdoor concrete court here because, even at this time of the year, Houston is usually sunnyside up. Yesterday, the organisers and the television networks, including Eurosport, looked at the clouds and prayed that the tournament does not go belly up.

The top eight players on the ATP Tour are primed for action in two groups of four for the round-robin stage of the singles event, and eight doubles teams are also tapping their racket strings. Looking on the bright side, it is possible that conditions may have improved by tomorrow night, when Henman is due to play his opening match against the only American to qualify, the world No 2, Andy Roddick.

Today's programme is due to start with Roger Federer, the defending champion and the winner this year of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, against Gaston Gaudio, of Argentina, the winner of the French Open.

The 34-year-old Andre Agassi's failure to qualify makes Henman the oldest player in the tournament at 30. Henman previously qualified in 1998, when he reached the semi-finals.

Having arrived last Wednesday, Henman is pleased with his preparation, including a practice session with Federer. "It's been a little bit colder than I expected," Henman said. "That makes the balls heavier. They don't fly around so much."

Henman has won three of his four previous matches against Roddick, the Briton's latest success being in the semi-finals at Indian Wells last March. Roddick's win was in the first round of the 2003 US Open.

¿ Lindsay Davenport defeated her fellow American Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the season-ending WTA Tour Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but failed to qualify for the semi-finals while her defeated opponent did so. Both players finished with two wins and a defeat, but because Williams had won one more set in her three matches she went through. The other semi-finalists are Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova, of Russia, and the Frenchwoman Amélie Mauresmo.

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific