Williams: Get Off of Henman's Back

07-05-2004, 05:12 PM
Williams tells fans: get off Henman's back
By Ronald Atkin
04 July 2004

Richard Williams, father of the Williams sisters, last night warned British tennis fans to "get off Tim Henman's back" or risk destroying the country's leading tennis player. After watching his daughter Serena lose the women's final yesterday, Williams urged: "It is time the fans here realised the amount of pressure on that young man is just tremendous.

"When you have a whole country riding on your shoulders how can you cope with it, every day looking at the newspapers and seeing yourself on the front pages? He was in the locker room when I went there the other day and I felt like asking him how he survived under such pressure.

"I also spoke to Tim's parents just before the quarter-final [the defeat by Mario Ancic] and asked how they were standing up to it all. They said it must be just the same for me with Venus and Serena, but it's not. It's much worse for the Henmans.

"If he doesn't win, it seems like no one wants to talk to him. How can the fans of this country be that tough on him, yelling at him? One guy in the crowd the other day even had his hands together, praying. If he wins he's a god, if he loses he's a dog. I wonder what must be going through his mind. But if he ever wins this tournament, he could be the next king of England."

Williams thinks the expectation heaped on Henman, who was beaten by the unseeded Croat Ancic in the quarter-finals, could even be harming future British tennis prospects. "What's happening to Henman might be keeping a lot of British kids from coming into the game. When they see what's happening to him, who wants to volunteer to be the next victim?

"I wouldn't say that's the only reason why no young talent is making it on the tours, but it's about 70 per cent of the reason in my opinion. If I was a British boy or girl I wouldn't be interested in taking up tennis. Even when Mr Henman wins, if the win is not impressive they say 'He didn't look good'. How much can a human being take?

"I think he is playing the best tennis of anybody because nobody else at Wimbledon has that type of pressure. I notice that he has improved his serve a great deal, his movement around court is better. His courage and guts are stronger coming to the net.

"That's amazing considering what pressure everyone is putting on him. Tim Henman and Paul Annacone are working well together. Tim just had a bad day last Thursday. Everyone has a bad day now and then. Venus had a bad day in the second round. So you aren't going to get anyone coming through because of what is happening to Mr Henman. I don't think I could change that, or anyone else could."

07-05-2004, 05:19 PM
Fair play to Richard :bigclap:

When Tim lost, the British papers absolutely shredded him to pieces. It was unbelievable how cruel they were. Its so unfair that so much expectations are put on him, he doesnt ask for them at all

07-05-2004, 05:30 PM
nice words of dad Williams

07-05-2004, 05:36 PM
yeah, i've always thought if the fans treated him like he was french he would've won it by now

07-05-2004, 05:44 PM
poor Henman :sad:
i really really hope that he wins Wimbledon sometime

07-05-2004, 05:48 PM
tnx Kip for posting that, that's really far and a IMO good contribution.

I agree with that what Richard Williams said. I wouldn't call myself a fan of Henman, but even I notice how much pressure is on him and how unfair he is often treated. Some comments are really too harsh. :harsh:

07-05-2004, 05:49 PM
My heart sinked when I saw Tim's eyes after his loss to Mario Ancic, full of disappointment and helpless, it must be an awful feeling and I didn't feel much better than him. :sad:

07-05-2004, 06:38 PM
He definitely is right in saying that the british should try to back off and leave him alone otherwise he may never ever win it. He is a very good player and by putting too much pressure on him will not help him at all. I feel sorry for Henman and hope that things do turn out well for him next year.

07-05-2004, 06:46 PM
I totally agree with Mr. Williams.

I thought a big headline out of the FO was Tim making it to the semis. Then the first set he played against Coria had me mesmerized. He was really hitting everything. All the British press could say was that he was messing himself up for Wimbledon. :(

Then during ESPNs Wimbledon coverage, they had a woman reporter on from one of the local papers and she was soooo negative towards Tim.

When Tim has a set back in a match, the crowd don't cheer him on, they just sit there all tensed up like they are on a death watch. It's awful!

Tim's fortitude and his game have probably gained him more "real" fans outside of the U.K. than in it. I have a great deal of respect for him and wish him all the best.

Having written all of that, I think his best chance of winning Wimbledon came and went in 2001. But, you never know.

07-05-2004, 08:50 PM
Now I'm just surprised by the Williamses starting from Wimbledon. Is it really them? I mean, the things they're saying and how they're acting is NOT like them! :lol: Venus and Serena were gracious in defeat, Richard congratulating other player supporters and saying many positive things about other players, and now Richard being concerned for other players, but also he's actually been MAKING SENSE! :lol:

07-05-2004, 09:07 PM
I think too, that they way Henman was treated, by press and fans alike was disgraceful. It's just that there is such a feeling of desperation about it all and it gets stronger every year. How he still manages to perform the way he does and with the resolve and determination he has is just a tribute to what a class act he truly is- if only more peole here in Britain could realize that...

Clara Bow
07-05-2004, 09:07 PM
Richard congratulating other player supporters and saying many positive things about other players, and now Richard being concerned for other players, but also he's actually been MAKING SENSE!

I know...when did Richard Williams become so like-able? He was also great about the whole wrong score incident.

Corey Feldman
07-05-2004, 09:11 PM
i heard richard williams was releasing a cover version of a song this year......"all i want for christmas is my 2 front teeth, ma 2 front teeth, ma 2 front teeth lalala" :lol: :lol: :lol:

07-05-2004, 09:34 PM
Tim :sad: :hug:

07-05-2004, 11:34 PM
I agree with Richard Williams :worship: Give Tim a break, people!! :( :sad: :hug:
Watch, i guarentee you at the Open, you may see Tim make the semis or even the finals, possibly win it! :eek: I think it makes that much a difference.

07-05-2004, 11:42 PM
I agree! Maybe he could come on down and tell the Aussie press to leave Mark alone too!

chris whiteside
07-06-2004, 05:54 AM
I actually tend to diasagree here. Henman is his own worst enemy. Over the past 7 or 8 months he has been telling anyone who will listen how much his game has improved over the last year and how his attitude has changed etc.

He does arouse a lot of debate in the UK but I have always maintained he was a very good player just lacking the mental strength to make that one final step.

It wasn't the fact that he got beaten in the Wimby quarters but the manner of the defeat. After losing the first set he just crumbled and his play could only be described as dire. I really believe he deserved much of what the press said about him. If you really read the articles they spoke a lot of sense. It was the headlines which were overharsh but these are NOT written by the same people who write the articles.

Tim was ranked No 6 in the world, he was playing in his supposedly favourite surface in his favourite tournament around which his year revolves but he couldn't hack it. You can't expect a player to win any match by right but in the circumstances he was a failure. Any good grass court player could have beaten him in 3 of his 4 previous matches. Ancic played well but Henman was pretty dismal. You can be sure that Federer, Roddick, Nalbandian etc aren't going to fold like this at this stage of a Major.

He is still a very good player, could do well at the US Open (although he won't win it). But I do believe much of the ctiticism he received especially from the more respected British commentators was justified to a large extent.

07-06-2004, 06:10 AM
many said Richard Williams is crazy but this time he is very fair, also very gracious in Serena's defeat :worship: :worship:

07-06-2004, 08:20 AM
Richard did make sense this time.

But come on now. I agree that there is no need for malicious coverage of him. But the fans getting excited is a great thing. I'm sure that puts pressure on him, but go cry about it. He has a whole country behind him for two weeks. That must be amazing. Some people cannot handle all the glory or all the blame and I understand that. But when he retires, he'll miss it. So let the fans cheer. They aren't going to treat him like he was French, and nor should they.

07-06-2004, 08:34 AM
Yes, Richard is right. Even on winning his opening match, it is celebrated as if he has won Wimbledon itself. Henman should be left alone, atleast until he reaches Semis.

07-06-2004, 11:43 AM
I do agree that the Wimbledon crowd is completely obssessive. In fact, dare I say, it is completely ridiculous. One might compare, in a way, Henman's pressure to Mauresmo's, but the French crowd and public opinion is in no way as hopeful/devastated as the British.
But that's how the media and the public opinion is with sportsmen, just look at Beckham. Owen was a god a few years ago, now it's Rooney. The only one who is getting away with it perfectly - for the time being - is Wilkinson (rugby).

07-06-2004, 02:59 PM
Yes, Richard is right. Even on winning his opening match, it is celebrated as if he has won Wimbledon itself. Henman should be left alone, atleast until he reaches Semis.

LOL. That is just never going to happen! If the English football team wins a match in the World Cup, it's big news. Nobody fucking waits til the late rounds to become excited, and if they did you'd accuse them of being bandwagon hoppers.

07-06-2004, 03:19 PM
Nobody fucking waits til the late rounds to become excited, and if they did you'd accuse them of being bandwagon hoppers.
You're right. But the Henmania is a bit excessive from the start, is it not?

07-06-2004, 04:16 PM
You're right. But the Henmania is a bit excessive from the start, is it not?

I don't think so. I think the flip side of it is. Once he loses, the knives come out and that's not really right, is it?

07-06-2004, 05:50 PM
I see the pressure put on Henman, but on the other hand some players would be happy to have a Slam in their home country to take favor of the crowd support.

07-06-2004, 05:53 PM
poor Timmy :sad:
Mr. Williams -> :clap2: :hatoff: very wise words u've said!

07-06-2004, 06:56 PM
I know...when did Richard Williams become so like-able? He was also great about the whole wrong score incident.

His recent conduct is irrefutable evidence that the real Mr. Wiliams has been abducted by aliens. :p

07-06-2004, 07:00 PM
Yep fair play Richard has been behaving inpecably lately!

07-06-2004, 10:22 PM
Federer digs at Henman's critics


07-07-2004, 02:04 AM

07-08-2004, 05:20 PM
I think it is unfair that Henman always gets savaged by the press when he loses. I think they expect too much of him, realistically he is not one of the top 3 chances to win Wimbledon but the way they talk about him during the tournamrnt, they think he is the favourite. I think it was a good effort on his part to reach the QF considering his bad grass court form but its still not enough for them.
But on the flip side, he certainly does benefit from the massive crowd support more than any other player. He has a huge advantage when he is playing, because people are cheering madly for him and not for his opponent. The crowd probably lifts him to win matches he probably shouldnt, like when he came back from nearly losing to Hidalgo.

07-08-2004, 07:19 PM
The problem is he always gets talked up in the same breath as Federer, Roddick, Hewitt et al before the tournament, so people expect him to deliver the same level of performance when he's a notch down from those few players. He is good enough to beat them (OK, not Hewitt) as he showed in Paris last year, but unfortunately in the last few years Henman has consistently played below his potential at Wimbledon - I doubt it's a coincidence that the change occurred at exactly the same time they slowed the grass down to give it a higher bounce. Last year Pat Cash actually complimented Henman's mental toughness and use of home support by asking, "Can you imagine anyone else with the game he has reaching the second week here eight times in a row?", and I thought, no - not with the game Henman displays at Wimbledon these days. But he's a much better player than that at other tournaments.

He says he loves the support of the home crowd, but you look at his best performances over the past year and they've both been on Parisian soil - two different tournaments, two totally different surfaces, but in these French-speaking events there is no pressure and there is enthusiastic support but it's not a matter of life and death. I also think those surfaces actually help him in certain aspects more than grass these days; no-one's trying to suggest that clay is overall a better surface for his attacking game, but I think clay and U.S. hardcourts help his serve much more because his main delivery is the kick serve and it bounces higher on those courts, he gets a floating return and attacks it with the forehand before moving in to finish the volley off. He doesn't actually follow his serve into the net that much on fast surfaces outside Wimbledon.

Compare that to Wimbledon, where with the slower courts the ball doesn't stay low but equally doesn't bounce too high, and the serve sits there for everyone ranked in the Top 100 to have a decent swing at as he comes into the net. It's a traditional grass-court style, but with his serve it's also a liability, and it's why he has so many tough matches in the early rounds nowadays (plus mental ups and downs, but they're connected to the lack of a single massive weapon in his game). Of course nobody in the media or public actually appreciates this, so instead they trot out the phrase "rollercoaster ride" over and over again to try and explain the nightmarish peaks and troughs of his matches. "Oh, typical Tim, putting us through agony every time." And nobody knows much about his opponents, of course, just that they're the latest opposition, which is why the Ancic loss was such a massive shock since no-one knew what he'd done before at Wimbledon and how well he'd been playing during the grass-court season.

In the matches he played at this year's Wimbledon, Henman actually won more sets when he stayed back than he did when he serve-volleyed. When even Federer starts saying he isn't confident serve-volleying that much on grass while facing such good returners, bearing in mind he has a serve twice as good as Henman's, it's a worry. I certainly think that Henman is good enough to beat a lot of opponents from the baseline, and while he shouldn't stay there entirely mixing it up is definitely the way forward. Federer mentioned last year that his mistake in 2002 was to serve-volley all the time against Ancic, just as Henman did, when he should have stayed back and given him more to think about by way of rallies. The fact is, it's impossible to win Wimbledon these days by serve-volleying 100% on the first serve, never mind 100% on the second as well. Unless Henman can get twice as much pace on his delivery, which is unlikely at this stage of his career, he certainly can't win by using that style exclusively.

07-08-2004, 07:50 PM
sad. sad. cry. cry. tear.

07-08-2004, 08:10 PM
Don't be sad azza, Scud can't get any lower than he is now.