Tim Henman’s Wimbledon firsts and lasts…

The Wimbledon blog spoke to former British number one and Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman and the first and the last things he did at Wimbledon.

First visit…
 
I came with my mum when I was six and it was outside of the tournament. I have a big picture of me at home looking at Centre Court for the first time. I can remember a lot about it, it was the moment in my life where I thought ‘that is where I want to play one day’.
 
First match you saw live…
 
I then came that year and I watched Borg play. I think it was 80, it might have been 81 – I think it was 81 – and he was defending champion going for his sixth title. We watched his first match and I remember him walking on the court in his Fila gear with the headband and the grass and the full house and that is a defining moment, again, with me thinking: ‘I want to be here playing’.
 
First senior match at Wimbledon…
 
I won my first senior match at Wimbledon on the grave yard of champions [the old Court No 2]. My first match in 95 was also on Court 2 – I didn’t play out there too much – but I played first round there in, I think, 2000-2001 and I won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 so some good memories for me out there.
 
It was a little bit nerve-wracking but inspirational you know; all the people that have been here before you and all the great champions and you want to be a part of it. It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a bit.
 
When you look at the new No 2 Court and what an asset that’s going to be, the old Court No 2 was falling down and they can do a lot better than that but it’s a piece of history. I was sad to see the old Court No 1 go because it was a very unique court. It had a very intimate atmosphere because it was small on one side with a huge stand on the other but look at the new No 1 Court and it’s in a different league.
 
First match on Centre Court…
 
In 96 I beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov, he was French Open champion at the time and number three in the world, and I saved a couple of match points and won 7-5 in the fifth so that was a turning point in my life, from that day on everywhere that I went I was recognised.
 
The first time I ever hit a ball on Centre Court it felt so familiar and I felt so comfortable out there, I literally didn’t miss a shot in the first five minutes then broke his serve in the first game so that had a very positive impact on the match.
 
Last match at Wimbledon…
 
I played one of the last matches on the old Court No 1 when we played Davis Cup against Egypt. I also played the first match on the new No 1 Court and the competitor’s area that’s come with that. The new No 2 Court, the roof on Centre Court it’s amazing what they do here at the Club and it’s fun to be a part of it now I’m working with the tournament committee.

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