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Discussion Starter #1
Tim deserves a warm welcome since he's been away from the tour for so long. :) I missed him terribly, especially at the masters cup, but hopefully the injury scare is now over.

His own words, from the official newsletter:
Since arriving in Rotterdam practice has been going well and my shoulder is holding up fine. I found simply practising at this level was another step up in intensity for me and my first round match tomorrow will be a real test - my main goal is to come through the match unscathed and anything else is a bonus. The courts out here are medium-paced so I'll have to mix up my tactics but the balls are firm so it is possible to get a little bit of extra pace when needed. I'm excited about getting back on the match court but I'm also a little nervous, which is understandable given the circumstances. Having not played a match for a while it's difficult to gauge how I'm going to perform but I'm quietly confident that I can continue my good record here.

Best wishes,

Tim

Good luck in today's match against Ljubicic!


And more importantly, may your shoulder hold up nicely.

Welcome back! :kiss:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well that was short-lived. Tim lost 4-6 2-6. :sad::sad::sad:

I just hope his shoulder is ok and he can proceed to the next tournament. After some practice and hopefully with Tim drawing some easier opponents, we can expect him to do better.

Better luck next time Tim!
 

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From the official site:

Ljubicic cuts Henman’s comeback short: 6-4 6-2

Tim Henman’s comeback in Rotterdam was short-lived. After an enforced absence of almost four months, the British top player took on Ivan Ljubicic in his first match after injury. Showing little mercy with the number five seed, the Croatian took revenge for his defeat in the semi-finals of 2002: 6-4 6-2.

"It’s a funny feeling: I am happy that my shoulder held up, but disappointed that I lost,’’ said the Englishman after his defeat. "I missed a couple of volleys that I should have made. But there’s nothing strange about that. I know from the training that I’m still in control of the game. The only thing I need is to play lots of matches. If I don’t feel a reaction to my shoulder tomorrow morning, I’ll be leaving for Dubai in a happy mood.’’

Henman had virtually no chance against Ljubicic. The Croatian served accurately (top speed 216 km) and left his opponent hardly any opportunity to strike back. Henman, too, recognised this. "He played very well.’’

In the first set a single service break in the third game put Ljubicic ahead and, after the remaining games had gone with service, he secured victory with two aces. In the second set, the man from Monte Carlo struck in the fifth (2-3) and seventh games (2-5). Ljubicic clinched the match with a final ace in 72 minutes. In the next round he will be confronted with another hard server, Max Mirnyi.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's a relief that he feels his shoulder is holding up. :) Hopefully he will feel no pain tomorrow and will move on to Dubai.
 

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Hi Layla, just saw the result. Disappointing considering Tim's great record here, and it probably won't do much good to his ranking, but at least according to his words it was the lack of match practice rather than any lingering shoulder problems that hindered him.

Ljubicic is certainly a tough opponent to get in the first round, since he doesn't give you much rhythm, but that was always to be expected in a high-quality field like this. He should win a few matches in Dubai, hopefully, and get his form back in time to defend the runner's-up spot at Indian Wells in March.
 

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Good news from Tim: :)

Practice has gone very well since arriving here in Dubai and my shoulder is feeling stronger than ever. Since coming through my first round match last week in Rotterdam I've gained a lot of confidence in my shoulder and I've been able to really unwind on my serve without worrying about the consequences, which is a huge bonus. The courts are medium-paced here in Dubai but the ball moves through the air pretty fast, especially if you play earlier in the day when it's hot. I've never played my first round opponent Attila Savolt before but obviously I've seen him play and I've got a pretty good idea of what to expect. Hopefully, this week I'm going to be able to concentrate much more on winning matches than was the case last week, when my main concern was how my shoulder was going to react to competing again.

Best wishes,

Tim

It's a huge relief that his shoulder has become reliable again. As I type this, his first match in Dubai has begun, so best of luck to him!

GO TIM!


 

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And Tim lost... :sad: He broke back when Savolt lead 5-3 in the third, only to be broken himself. Argh! This is extremely frustrating.
 

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He was certainly very close to winning today... I think he'll start to close out these tight contests when he gets to Indian Wells, and he'll at least make a few steps towards defending that runner-up spot from last year. He should certainly be motivated enough by the knowledge of what'll happen to his ranking if he loses early again.
 
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