Tim Henman – A very British Champion

Hailing from a family of tennis players, it would be apt to say that this British tennis star has got tennis embedded in his genes! Timothy (Henry) Henman is the genius we are talking about. He was born in Oxford, England on 6 September 1974. Anthony, his father was a solicitor and Jane, a dress designer.

When most children were finger-painting at the age of 2 ½ years old, Timothy or better known as Tim, was swinging his tennis racket on the family grass court. Both his parents introduced tennis to Tim and his siblings, Michael and Richard at an early age. His mother herself was a junior Wimbledon competitor. His maternal grandparents, Henry and Susan Billington also played at the Wimbledon. His grandfather represented Britain in the Davis Cup in 1948, 1950-51. His great grandmother, Ellen Stanwell-Brown, was reputedly the first woman to serve over-arm at Wimbledon in 1901.

Tim Henman was privately educated at the Dragon School, Oxford. But Tim had decided on a career in tennis at the age of six itself. He passed his 10 GCSE exams from Reed’s School, Cobham, Surrey, with a tennis scholarship. David Lloyd coached him among many other budding British tennis players in his teen years. He worked his way up the world-ranking ladder to reach top 200 in 1994 and among the top 30 in 1996. The same year he brought home the silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics in the men’s doubles category.

The year 1997 saw him emerge as a class player winning his first ATP tour title in the Sydney international. He has a total of 15 ATP titles, 11 of which are single titles and the rest, doubles. Tim Henman caught the attention of tennis lovers around the world as he made his way to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 1996 for the first time but lost to Tod Martin. He has appeared in the Wimbledon quarterfinals three times after that and the semi-final four times, but failed each time. Tim Henman is also the first person ever to be disqualified from it in 1995 when he thrashed a ball on the ball girl in a fit. His career was at its peak in july 2002 standing 4th in the ATP world rankings. In 2004, he became the first British man to reach the Roland Garros semi-finals since Mike Sangster in 1963 and also the US Open semis in 1997 after Greg Rusedski. In 2003 Henman bagged his most prestigious, the first and only ATP Masters Series title, winning the Paris Masters against Andrei Pavel defeating the likes of Andy Roddick and Roger Federer. On June 2004 he was awarded the ‘Officer of Order of British Empire’ for his services to tennis by Queen Elizabeth II.

By 2006, injuries started affecting his tennis career. He announced retirement on 23rd august 2007 and took to golfing. He served as chairman for the ATP charities and also his personal charity, kids at heart. He married his long time girlfriend, Lucy Heald in 1999 and has three daughters, Rose Elizabeth, Olivia and Grace. He now enjoys a quiet life in London, while fans still continue to see him as Britain’s hope in the Wimbledon.