How the world views Wimbledon

John Roberts, Chris Bowers and Nick Harris asked journalists for their thoughts on the tennis, the weather and, of course, Tim Henman
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The Independent Online


L'Equipe, France

"You put so much on Tim Henman, and you don't see what he has achieved over the last 10 years here. He has huge talent, not maybe enough to be the top champion you would like to have, but what he has made with his talent is great. I wouldn't bury him for not winning Wimbledon. I used to hate Wimbledon before changes were made for the 2000 championships. It wasn't very friendly to the foreign people. Now it's one of my favourite tournaments. The people running it have had the intelligence to keep the prestige and cut down the snobbishness."


Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy

"Henman is simply too old. His tennis is improving. Like all the players, he's more clever, more complete, but at the same time he does not have the power that you need now in an important match. I don't like to say this, but I don't believe he will have another chance to win Wimbledon. As to the tournament, I am a traditionalist and I don't agree it is correct to build a roof [over Centre Court]. Instead, they should reduce the doubles and have a 64 draw for singles. The rain is part of London."


Agencia EFA, Spain

"Having just one big player trying to win the Wimbledon title is too much pressure for Henman. At the same time, I am disappointed. Seeing Henman playing so well in Paris, I was waiting to see him in the final here, at least. Wimbledon, from a few years ago, has been changed a lot for the better. Right now, for me, it is the best of the four Grand Slams for the media and for facilities. The only thing you have to improve is the food."


Tages Anzeiger, Switzerland

"Wimbledon's profile has gone up in Switzerland now it's back on terrestrial television, and with the successes of Martina Hingis [women's champion in 1997] and Roger Federer [men's champion in 2003], it's very much regarded as the best tournament, unbeatable really. The way it has developed in recent years is just fantastic. I think the Swiss have more respect for Tim Henman than the British do - he's got a great record both here and against Federer, so it's sad to see how much he's made fun of among the British public and media."


Freelance photographer, USA

"Wimbledon has changed radically since the 1970s; the estate prices are worse but the tournament is better in every respect. [Chief executive] Chris Gorringe has done a great job, he has thrust it not into the 21st century but in some respects beyond it, it's a quantum leap from the antiquated to the very modern. They're forward-thinking, and media savvy in a good way. In terms of history, the weight falls on Wimbledon. This is the cathedral. Do we get carried away? Yes, but that's OK."


Freelance writer, Germany

"Wimbledon is by a long way the biggest and most important tournament for Germans, stemming from the successes of Boris Becker, Michael Stich and Steffi Graf. It's improved greatly but they should have opted for a roof much earlier, and on Court One as well as the Centre Court. I used to prefer going to Paris, but I increasingly love the way the British find humour amid chaos and don't take themselves too seriously. But I feel sorry for Henman. He has carried an unfair burden for a decade."


La Prensa, Argentina

"For Argentinians, Roland Garros is the most important tournament because [Guillermo] Vilas won there and was only a quarter-finalist here, but for me Wimbledon is the best - it has the flavour of tennis. Court One is the most beautiful tennis stadium in the world, but entering Centre Court is like arriving in a cathedral. The British people are good, but the British press puts unfair pressure on Henman. The weather is terrible, and it has changed the course of some matches."


Sun-Sentinel, America

"As a journalist, there's no finer place to work than Wimbledon. The facilities, the staff - it's all superior to any other Slam. The ambience is unparalleled. But strip back the veneer, and I don't find the tennis itself appealing. The points are over too quickly, real contenders are limited, the rain delays are depressing. A common phrase I hear here is "hard luck". It grates. It exemplifies a very British attitude. It wasn't hard luck, it was a bad shot."


Canberra Times, Australia

"Wimbledon is still the No 1 Grand Slam by a margin. The atmosphere on a good day, with no rain, is the best in tennis. The tradition and the grass encourage the players to raise their game. Yet a lot of the people who attend don't seem to be very knowledgeable. It's a two-week social occasion.

People seem not to understand that Tim Henman performed OK. The pressure on him is incredible. Lleyton Hewitt doesn't face that in the Australian Open, not the same level of expectation. But then we had our last home winner in 1976, and 1936 is a lot different."