Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Injury forces Henman to put comeback on ice

The British No 2 Tim Henman has been forced to withdraw from his comeback tournament in Marseilles next week as he looks to make a complete recovery from his knee injury.

The 32-year-old had to pull out of the Australian Open last month and had been hoping to make his first appearance since October in the south of France. Instead Henman has set his sights on returning in Rotterdam on 19 February.

Henman said: "Unfortunately, I've been forced to delay my return to competition despite a vast improvement in the condition of my injured knee.

"I was hoping to play in the Open 13 in Marseilles next week but I've decided to pull out of that event and aim to get my 2007 campaign under way at the Rotterdam tournament."

However, the Oxford-born player insisted that he was satisfied with his recovery and his withdrawal was merely a precaution. "The good news is that my knee is now a lot better than it was before," he said. "I've been practising this week and it's a case of so far so good, but I just don't want to rush back on to the match court before I've had a chance to really push it in practice.

"It's healing really well and I haven't felt any twinges at all so far, but I haven't been able to train on it as much as I would have wanted. If there are no major setbacks then I'll be ready to play in Rotterdam.

"Although I'm disappointed that I've had to miss another tournament my priority is to be fully fit before I compete again, and hopefully it won't be long before that happens."