Time is right to return Henman's verbal volleys
By Lleyton Hewitt
The Australian hopes his team win the final Test to stop the Britonís bragging
IíVE been copping it from Tim Henman. Thank God heís gone home from the US Open because he hasnít wasted a single opportunity to remind me that we are having a tough time retaining the Ashes.
I didnít know he was such an expert on cricket, but I suppose itís one time you Poms have something to crow about. (Oh yeah, and the rugby.) Iíll do the best I can to follow the fifth Test ó but it looks as if that means sitting at a computer watching the runs tick by. One of the downsides of being in the States is you havenít got a chance to see whatís going on in any sport other than those theyíre interested in. Cricket isní t one of them.
For sure we face an uphill battle this week but thatís when Aussies are at their best, whatever the sport. What intrigues me is that weíre in a situation we havenít faced in cricket, certainly not against England, in a very long time. Itís going to be important for us to go in with the right mindset, and not to get too anxious if things donít go our way early in the match.
I donít agree that we should be thinking weíve nothing to lose, we just need to keep the pressure on all the time and see how the Poms react . . . Iím a great mate of Adam Gilchrist, we text each other all the time, encouraging each other and I know he is disappointed with what he has done with the bat in this series. Equally, he is one of those players who can turn genius on like a tap and heís more up for this match than any for a while. He says the attitude in the camp is very positive, that we still believe we are the better team and we have one great opportunity to prove it. Iím not an expert but I think the toss is going to be crucial, especially at the Oval. Itíd be great to put up a ton of runs and see what itís like for them to chase it.
The Aussies are a great bunch of guys, they came to Wimbledon to support me and they know Iím rooting for them to deliver. I never really played the game myself, just bits at school. Tennis was my summer sport and I played footie in the winter so cricket wasnít on the agenda. I canít say I follow any other team closely but us.
Iíve read a lot of the media criticism but that will only spur the boys on. Iíve had my own situations like that to deal with in the past, and the only way is to remain true to what you do, dig deep, and stay committed.
I love the Davis Cup almost as much as anything in my sport, itís great to get away from the single-minded side of tennis and be a member of a team. Itís about pride and when the result comes in and weíve won and the Ashes are still ours itíll be nice to remind Henners of that the next time I see him. Heís become a bit of a pain.
September 08, 2005, from The Times