Nick Bollettieri: Henman should be aiming for the last four

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The Independent Online

Rejoice in Tim Henman. That's my message to British tennis fans after I sat in the stands on Tuesday and marveled as he was hit by 39 aces from a Croatian giant, Ivo Karlovic, but never lost his poise and never gave in.

Rejoice in Tim Henman. That's my message to British tennis fans after I sat in the stands on Tuesday and marveled as he was hit by 39 aces from a Croatian giant, Ivo Karlovic, but never lost his poise and never gave in.

For the way he came through in five tough sets against Karlovic, and with a painful back as well, to earn today's second-round match with Jérome Golmard, Tim deserves nothing but praise. In fact, on the basis of that win, and the manner of that win, I now think Henman can go as far as the last four in this tournament.

It wasn't only Karlovic's serve that was working well - and on its day, it's one of the most feared in the game. The guy was also playing powerful, damaging groundstrokes. But Henman did not throw in the towel. He believed in himself, which was the most encouraging single fact of all. He was chipping well, volleying well, finding key shots at important moments. He might have gone under but he found his way through.

For a lot of people on your side of the pond, Henman's reputation stands or falls by what he does at one tournament a year, Wimbledon. Judge him on what he does elsewhere and matches like Tuesday's show you what quality he really brings to the game.

Golmard, Tim's next opponent, is a crafty French lefty who only had to play one set against Irakli Ladadze in the first round because the Georgian retired after losing the first tie-breaker.

Golmard has troubled Henman before but his weak link is his forehand, which hasn't been tested here yet. Henman can and should test it on a surface that is playing quite fast. I just don't think Golmard has what it takes to beat Henman here if the Briton plays anything like he did on Tuesday.

Another big talking-point on Tuesday was Andy Roddick's US Open record serve of 152mph as he demolished Scoville Jenkins. My reaction to that is: hey! Forget about the first serves, it's the second serves that are really setting Roddick apart, like having the balls and the conviction to shoot 135mph second serves on match points, as he did in one of his Olympic matches.

Roddick's next opponent is another teenager, Rafael Nadal, who is of a completely different calibre to Jenkins and under normal circumstances could prove one hell of a test for Roddick. But the Spanish 18-year-old has not been in the best of health and I expect Roddick to win.

Talking of expectations, Maria Sharapova is facing them mountain-high on a daily basis. She eventually came through her first-round match against Laura Granville in three sets and said she'd been in La-La Land for part of it. I don't really buy that. Granville just upped her game to trade blow-for-blow, which is what everyone will now do against Sharapova, whose next opponent will be Jelena Jankovic.

Both Maria and Jelena have been long-term students at my academy. Their match will rest on one factor, psychological dominance. Does Jelena really feel she can beat Maria? I pick Maria to win that.

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