Focus on physical side: Henman

Focus on physical side: Henman

When some of the big guns of the past are busy coaching the current top players, Tim Henman has chosen to lend his expertise to budding talents. The former British No 1 was here to launch ‘Road to Wimbledon’, an event aimed at boosting the development of junior tennis, and hoped the programme would help in improving the playing standards in India.

Henman, who had been associated with Road to Wimbledon since 2002, along with All England Club Head Coach Dan Bloxham, wrapped up a three-day clinic for under-14 boys and girls at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association complex on Friday.

“My first impression was how well they hit the ball. There is lot of natural talent. Where they really need to focus is on the physical side because the game has changed so much. It has become so physically demanding. When they come on (to) the courts, from the very first ball they have to focus on the intensity,” Henman said.

“I think this programme will be an advantage for them, because it gives them the opportunity to compete overseas, in different environments and against different players. It’s going to be interesting to see if we can make it work here. It’s very important we keep working with youngsters because they are our future.”

Henman, who kick-started his career by winning three successive titles on the Indian satellite circuit in 1994, wished to see an Indian among the top singles players.

“I would really like to see an Indian player having a big singles career because with the passion for sport in this country, it can really inspire a generation,” he pointed out.

A serve and volleyer at heart, Henman rued that the style was on a decline. “I am sad to say that it is a dying art. I would say the game is better than it has ever been. It is a spectacle.

 It’s incredible to see how fast they are, how consistent they are, how hard they hit the ball...“But I also want to see players serving and volleying and attacking the net. I felt it was so exciting, it’s difficult. The surfaces are slower now, balls heavier, so it becomes harder and harder to come to the net,” Henman explained. 

Looking ahead to the season, Henman, who won 11 Tour titles but no Grand Slams, picked Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for the Australian Open. He, however, found former World No 1 and Swiss great Roger Federer, who has roped in 1980’s legend Stefan Edberg as coach, good enough to add another Wimbledon to his tally of seven.

“Federer is so attacking and grass is the toughest surface to defend. I still think he has an opportunity,” said Henman, who reached the semifinals twice at the All England Club.

 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry