Great Britain’s Tim Henman was not lucky to win a Grand Slam singles title once; he had a great run from 1998 to 2002 at Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals four times and the French and US Open once in 2004. On a visit here to launch the HSBC Road To Wimbledon junior (under-14) programme the 39-year-old Henman said that Andy Murray has benefitted from Ivan Lendl’s coaching, but he is interested to see how Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg are going to help Serbian Novak Djokovic and Swede Roger Federer.
“Lendl has done a great job with Murray. With his experience he has had a great impact on Murray’s game. Lendl lost his first four Grand Slam finals and Murray lost his first four and then for Lendl to help Murray mentally to get over that has been fantastic. Becker working with Djokovic and Edberg with Federer, I did not expect that to happen. I am interested to see if Federer and Djokovic are going to play a little bit differently.”’
With the Australian Open set to start on Monday, the tennis world is curious to know the new ideas that Edberg and Becker would bring to Federer and Djokovic’s game. “It would not be about teaching new shots, it would be about strategy and maybe a gamestyle against a particular opponent, may be to do something with the preparation or something mentally on the court. If you don’t think that you can improve on anything, then you are wrong.”
Citing Rafael Nadal’s No. 1 ranking he said: “He is No. 1 in the world, and even though he cannot improve his ranking, he can become a better player. They have that mentality. His uncle is coaching him. People did doubt if he would come back strongly after the injury. I also think it’s fantastic that Federer wants to try different things. He has played for so long and achieved great things. He still has the hunger and desire knowing how he has been training in the off-season. He has been absolutely great. The racket he used had a small head and probably it did not give him any help. Now he wants to try a bigger head. It’s great. Why not? I used a 95 cm head.”
Henman went on to say that Federer is the best player ever who has played the game. “We should be enjoying watching him while he is still playing. When he stops playing, he will retire one day and we are going to miss him a lot then. He has earned the right to play as long as he wants. If he’s enjoying it (playing), who are we to say that he should stop. He has won 17 slams. He still has the desire and that’s why he is a great champion. Nadal is the best competitior in any sport. He plays every point hundred per cent. And that’s why I am a tennis fan, I love watching him.”
A professional for 15 years Henman said that the current era has been the toughest in men’s curcuit. “Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 36 slams together. I don’t think the modern game has seen such a tough era. ”