Time is right to return Henman's verbal volleys
By Lleyton Hewitt
The Australian hopes his team win the final Test to stop the Briton’s bragging
I’VE been copping it from Tim Henman. Thank God he’s gone home from the US Open because he hasn’t wasted a single opportunity to remind me that we are having a tough time retaining the Ashes.
I didn’t know he was such an expert on cricket, but I suppose it’s one time you Poms have something to crow about. (Oh yeah, and the rugby.) I’ll do the best I can to follow the fifth Test — 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 haven’t got a chance to see what’s going on in any sport other than those they’re interested in. Cricket isn’ t one of them.
For sure we face an uphill battle this week but that’s when Aussies are at their best, whatever the sport. What intrigues me is that we’re in a situation we haven’t faced in cricket, certainly not against England, in a very long time. It’s going to be important for us to go in with the right mindset, and not to get too anxious if things don’t go our way early in the match.
I don’t agree that we should be thinking we’ve nothing to lose, we just need to keep the pressure on all the time and see how the Poms react . . . I’m 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 he’s 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. I’m not an expert but I think the toss is going to be crucial, especially at the Oval. It’d be great to put up a ton of runs and see what it’s like for them to chase it.
The Aussies are a great bunch of guys, they came to Wimbledon to support me and they know I’m 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 wasn’t on the agenda. I can’t say I follow any other team closely but us.
I’ve read a lot of the media criticism but that will only spur the boys on. I’ve 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, it’s great to get away from the single-minded side of tennis and be a member of a team. It’s about pride and when the result comes in and we’ve won and the Ashes are still ours it’ll be nice to remind Henners of that the next time I see him. He’s become a bit of a pain.
September 08, 2005, from The Times