Tursunov will miss 'gentleman' Tim Henman

08-27-2007, 01:58 AM

The man who could end Tim Henman's grand slam career (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/08/26/sthenm126.xml), in the first round of the US Open, is extremely fond of him. Indeed, Russian Dmitry Tursunov has gently teased Henman about being an upper-class English gent, suggesting that he travels around the tennis circuit with a butler, and likes to take a break during his matches for tea and strawberries and cream.

"Tim always has afternoon tea," the wonderfully irreverent Tursunov has said. "Even during his matches he'll have tea and strawberries with cream.
"In fact, he's one of the very few players who is given two 'injury' time-outs plus a 'tea' time-out in case the match time interferes with his 'tea time'. And when he eats in a restaurant he needs to have a cloth napkin, a waiter and a full set of silverware. God forbid if the utensils are plastic."
Not that Henman minds the jokes from Tursunov. It is what players have come to expect from Tursunov, who has also been known to hide Roger Federer's rackets before the world No 1 goes out to play, and to throw apples at his colleagues in the locker-room. On the ATP's website, he lists his interests as "electronic and dance music, sports cars, knitting and collecting walnut shells". And, with his blond hair and his square jaw, he could easily pass for a Bond villain. There is also a resemblance to American comedian Will Ferrell. He smacks the ball with the power you might expect from a Bond villain. And he behaves a bit like Ferrell.
Tursunov, the No 27 seed, is no tennis dullard. "I have a very British sense of humour, and so I like Tim's sense of humour," the Californian-based Muscovite said. "He's a normal guy and likes a laugh and doesn't take it personally. I think having a sense of humour is a very important trait for any person, and he has that. Others players lack that - they take it a little personally.

"Some of the time during our matches, if Tim has had an easy shot, he has gone for me, hitting the ball hard, and he has looked at me and smiled a bit. So he gets me back in different ways. Maybe he'll do something here to me."
Tursunov had rounded off a practice session here by trying to thrash balls from the nearby practice courts up and into Arthur Ashe Stadium. But, being serious for a moment, he suggested that Henman quitting will have the same emotional impact on the players as the departure at last year's US Open of Andre Agassi.
"He's popular with the players, he's a great guy, and besides that he's actually been an incredible tennis player," Tursunov said. "Unfortunately, he didn't win a slam, but it's not like he lost to really bad players.
"I think the players are going to miss him just as much as we missed Andre. Andre had more success with the crowds, but we are definitely going to miss seeing him at the tournaments."
"He's very competitive on the court, but he'll never cross the line of not being a gentleman on the court. With the exception of maybe Federer, there are very few people who are like that.
"I'd love it if there were more players like him coming up in the younger generation, but it seems like being more cocky on the tennis court is more acceptable than it was. I don't really know anyone who doesn't like Tim. There's definitely going to be a void after he has gone."
One of Henman's practice sessions before playing Tursunov was with Federer. "It just kind of came out that Tim was retiring," Federer said. "Tim asked me if I wanted to practise one last time. I said to him, 'What are you talking about? That's it?' So, yeah, it was a different kind of a practice, I thought. Almost a bit sad to a point."
Henman has lost five of the six matches he has played against Tursunov, including at Wimbledon in 2005, and last year's Australian and French Opens.
"Is that because of me that Tim is retiring?" Tursunov asked. "He's probably thinking, 'Every time I show up for a grand slam, I play this clown'."
Dmitry Tursunov profile
• Dmitry Tursunov is the son of a Russian nuclear research engineer. "The moment people hear nuclear research, they imagine rockets with 'USSR' written on them," he said.
"My father was an engineer at the Institute of Nuclear Research. I don't know exactly what he did. I'm sure he didn't play with plutonium. It was something to do with defence, but he was not pressing a red button. People like to think he has a heavy accent and would say, 'Capitalism must die'."
• When Tursunov beat Tim Henman in the second round of the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, the Russian had to borrow a shirt before going on court as his clothes had been stolen from the locker-room.
• Tursunov, who moved to the United States when he was 12, is the resident blogger on the ATP's website, where he gives his thoughts on life behind the scenes.
www.telegraph.co.uk/hodgkinson (http://sport.telegraph.co.uk/hodgkinson)

The Freak
08-27-2007, 02:37 AM
Anyone who knows anything about tennis will miss having Tim around. His moments at Wimbledon were magical. :worship:

08-27-2007, 03:32 AM
our hearts will follow you Tim where ever your life takes you!

08-27-2007, 03:38 AM
That's it... Tursunov is going back into my "Good luck to:" section in my siggy.

08-27-2007, 08:04 AM
ugh, that is going to be one depressing hand shake/walk off. I hope they put him on Armstrong at least...is that asking to much tho? I'd like to see it on television.

08-27-2007, 08:30 AM
i never quite got what makes henman soooo special, especially to the players, but what the heck, he apparently is a nice guy. can't say i'll miss him though.

08-27-2007, 09:28 AM
No idea of many of you remember the former pro Filip Dewulf but he writes a good blog in Flemish, called "The Graveyard".

His latest entry is about Henman and it's a pretty good entry so I translated it for his fans:
The Last of the Mohicans


‘Gentleman Tim', ‘Tiger Tim’, ‘Henners’; these are nicknames that soon won’t be used any longer. In about a month , Tim Henman will have sung his last tune on the Wimbledon court one where he will join the England team to do battle against Croatia. This is a perfect opportunity to say adieu to the last of the Mohicans. Now there really won’t be a player left – let’s forget Roger Federer for a while – who plays the traditional, attacking tennis and who has the grandeur and who exuded a somewhat formal class of a lost tennis époque.

However, appearances are deceptive. Due to his middle class English background and his almost emotionless display on court, he often came across as boring – a British comic once described him as the human form of beige – but he’s far from it. Just like Pete Sampras – a good friend of his, they used to go out eating together during the European tournaments – Henman was not afraid to let go in the locker rooms. He had a sharp sense of humor and he did not shy away from irony or sarcasm to nudge colleagues.
On court, there was no trace left of that gentleman behavior. Those of us who have been able to sit close enough to the court have often heard him curse in all sorts of languages and he didn’t have a problem tackling his opponents psychologically either. He often used to look his opponent straight in the eyes before serving or after having won a point and during a short ball, you’d better make sure that you were quickly out of his way to avoid his fusillade. Henman was in all aspects an exemplary professional. He did everything to win his matches and when needed, he would not turn his back on some rock-hard warfare. Another example to prove that he was not a choir boy. In the booklet “Wimbledon Confidential” I’m currently reading, the head of the transport service tells of one time when Henman insulted the hell out of her on the phone just because she inadvertently send a camera team with him in his pick-up car. He could get on his high horse, marking his authority and he was a sly fox.

I remember the first time I saw Henman. It was during a Challenger in Cherbourg, Normandy. There was only one court available so we had no choice but to go to a club nearby for training. There, a lanky and very classic Henman was practicing. His forehand was old-fashioned – almost like Stefan Edberg – and his attacking tennis dated. Was this the hope of British tennis? “No way”, I thought at the time. A year later, I was forced to eat my own words. With an entire nation breathing down on him, he reached the semi-final in Wimbledon and he reached the quarter final four times. He has 11 titles and his top ranking was world number 4. Furthermore, besides soon having three kids at home, he possesses a silver medal in doubles from the Atlanta Olympics of ’96. With his classic tennis, he also reached the semi-final of Roland Garros. This is the sort of career any player would gladly sign for.

And yet, in England, they never forgave him for never winning Wimbledon. "My record is good at Wimbledon but it was always a goal to win it. Am I disappointed not to win Wimbledon? Yes, I think I am, but at the end of day when I reflect on my career I know that I was able to maximise my potential. I was always out there playing matches and practising as hard as I could; this is as good as I could have been." Those are beautiful words spoken by a good guy. That’s the conclusion I reached two years ago. Back then, I came across him in the catacombs of Wimbledon. Federer had just given him a trashing. Instead of turning his head away – as other players tend to do on occasion – he shook my hand and he asked me how I was doing. I asked him the same thing. With a grimace on his face, he said: “I’ve been better…”



08-27-2007, 09:40 AM
I think even Eggy will miss 'farmer' Tim. :)

08-27-2007, 10:35 AM
Thanks for posting that. Lovely article. I love Tim - will really miss him :sad: And those words just make me love Dima even more!

08-27-2007, 10:55 AM
Great article.

Hope Tim can take revenge for all his Grand Slam losses against Tursunov though.

08-27-2007, 11:05 AM
Tim is such a great guy, and it always pains me to see him get drawn and lose to an arrogant jerk like Tursunov :( But everyone always knew Tim never had much luck :sad:

The Pro
08-27-2007, 11:48 AM
Tursonov doesn't seem like a jerk to me.....

08-27-2007, 12:45 PM
another article on Tim's retirement, this is Federer's take.
source: http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/2007/08/26/fed-tim-was-so-unlucky-98487-19689490/

Roger Federer believes Tim Henman was unlucky not to have won a Grand Slam title.
The Wimbledon champion lost six of his 13 matches to the Briton, who announced on Thursday that he is to retire after next month's Davis Cup match against Croatia at Wimbledon.
World No.1 Federer said Henman, who reached six Grand Slam semi-finals, including four at Wimbledon, had done a great job, particularly at home, where Britain has not had a Wimbledon men's champion since 1936.
Federer said: "He has always been in a struggle with the media to try to prove that's he's not a bad player, that actually he is an excellent player.
"Honestly, I think he's had great success, many semi-finals of Grand Slams. It's not easy to make finals and win them.
"You always have some guy on a hot streak."
The closest Henman came to winning a Grand Slam title was at Wimbledon in 2001, when he was two points from beating eventual champion Goran Ivanisevic in the semi-finals.
Federer said Henman had not had much luck with the draw.
"At Wimbledon he ran into Pete Sampras a couple of times and maybe he had one chance the year he played Goran but that year I think it was kind of meant to be," he said.
"The French Open, you couldn't expect him to win that, and the US Open he played me in the semis.
"Is he the best player never to win a slam? That's a tough call. Other guys maybe got to a couple of finals. Is one, two finals better than four semis? It's hard to say."
Federer, who will bid to become the first man in the modern era to win four straight US Opens when the final Grand Slam of the year begins tomorrow, said he had always found it difficult to beat Henman.
"He got back a lot of returns, kept the ball low, and in the beginning I wasn't good enough," he said. "I was always scared to play against him - thank God I could turn it around in the end."
Federer revealed that Henman had texted him on Friday to ask if he would practise with him one more time, a request the Swiss had been delighted to honour.
"I'm kind of losing a tennis friend," he said. "He's a really nice person so I'll miss him."
Henman plays Dmitry Tursunov in the first round at the US Open, having lost five of his six matches with the Russian.

08-27-2007, 01:02 PM
Thanks for posting that. It was nice to hear what Tursunov had to say, and Federer too. I'll definitely miss Tim Henman.

08-27-2007, 01:26 PM
Tiger Tim :sad:

08-27-2007, 03:00 PM
Yet we still have people commenting on websites and writing in to papers criticising and being very rude about Tim - i'd love to know what these tossers have achieved in their lives that is so impressive.

I'm going to miss Tim.

08-27-2007, 06:29 PM
The fact that there are so many people angry that he didn't win a Slam just furthur proves how close he was and how great a a player he truly was. Kind of makes me feel better actually... at least he didn't just kind of go away, like Costa (a Slam owner himself).

08-27-2007, 07:09 PM
oh gosh, reading all these are making me so sad! I'm really going to miss Henman...if I see him tomorrow, I hope I don't cry :sad:

Morgan Z
08-27-2007, 07:18 PM
It feels terrible now, but it'll feel worse come Wimbledon 2008, when we'll have no Tim to follow. :sad:

08-27-2007, 07:28 PM
I have tickets for the last day of the davis cup - I hope Tim plays.

08-29-2007, 08:59 PM
Come on Tim. You got this one!!! Let's see a good couple of wins at The Open.

08-29-2007, 09:50 PM
Mitya says he doesnt wanna be the one that ends Henmans slam career

he wont be the way he's playing :o :o