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Henman admits dream might be over

Tim Henman rued on Thursday another missed chance to end Britain's 67-year men's title drought at Wimbledon.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2003 00:08 IST

Tim Henman rued Thursday another missed chance to end Britain's 67-year men's title drought at Wimbledon - and admitted his dream of landing the men's title could be over.

Asked whether a quarter-final defeat to France's Sebastien Grosjean meant the best chance to land his home tournament had now been lost, Henman thought for a while before answering: "Maybe".

"I think my chances are getting less - but it still won't stop me coming back and trying. If you don't believe in yourself you've got no shot," the 28-year-old said.

"It's always massively disappointing to lose. I have to find ways to keep improving. This is the one tournament that I desperately want to win and I've got to see how I can do that.

"But I've still got another four or five years," added Henman, who admitted that the lack of any real domestic competition means he is doomed to have the full glare of publicity to himself at Wimbledon, saying the media "circus" added to the pressure on his shoulders.

Grosjean won a match delayed three times for rain and stretching over two days 7-6 (10/8), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Henman refused to be comforted by his record of having now reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals seven years out of the last eight.

"I don't feel any sense of achievement," he admitted candidly, praising Grosjean's performance over the disjointed match, during which the players spent hours pacing the locker room.

"His standard over the whole match was better than mine. He served great for a guy of five foot nine (1m 75).

"On the second serve if you're giving them a target you're playing into their hands. It's no good me staying on the baseline and trying to out rally him."

Henman started abysmally on Wednesday as Grosjean marched 5-1 clear with a stream of winners - but he suddenly found his range and forced a tiebreak, only to lose it after four set points.

That, despite a second set in his favour, was when the rot set in, according to Henman, whose season has failed to catch fire properly following shoulder surgery last November, though he insisted his shoulder now felt 100 percent.

"The first set ended up being crucial I think. He dealt with it better than me," said the Briton.

"He was much quicker out of the blocks. Once I'd had my opportunity and missed it I should think he was pretty relieved he won the first set. I think it was massively important.

"I give Seb a lot of credit. He played better than me. But that doesn't hide my disappointment and frustration at the outcome of this match.

Henman added that while "this tournament has always been the highlight for me" it was time for him to achieve more outside of Wimbledon.

First Published: Jul 04, 2003 00:08 IST