|Tim Henman has been drafted into the doubles by captain John Lloyd as Great Britain try to seal a 3-0 victory in their Davis Cup World Group play-off with Croatia at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Lloyd had originally named Andy and Jamie Murray to play against Ivan Ljubicic and Lovro Zovko, but the rules state that nominations can be changed up to an hour before the match and both captains took full advantage of that.
Henman and Jamie Murray will face Zovko and Marin Cilic after Ljubicic’s withdrawal from the tie with medical problems.
“Yesterday’s match was very emotional for me but I said afterwards that we couldn’t afford to get carried away because the tie hadn’t been won,” explained Henman.
“Winning both singles matches yesterday was a brilliant start but we need to concentrate now on getting the job done.
“I always felt that the doubles would be very important in determining the outcome of the tie, and we’re fortunate to be in a position where we can qualify for the World Group by simply winning today’s match.
“And it’s really nice to have a few options in terms of selection. Obviously Andy and Jamie would make a great team, Andy and I can play really well together and I’m sure Jamie and I will combine well together too.
|Tim Henman held his nerve to give Great Britain a commanding 2-0 lead after the opening singles rubbers in their World Group play-off tie with Croatia at Wimbledon on Friday.
The 33-year-old beat late replacement Roko Karanusic, who took the place of Ivan Ljubicic after illness struck the Croatian No. 1 earlier in the day.
Henman built on the lead that Andy Murray had given the hosts when he beat Marin Cilic 3-6 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-3 in the opening match of the tie.
“We’re in a great position but the job’s not done just yet,” warned the British number two, who won 6-4 6-3 6-3.
“The most important thing is for us to get three wins as soon as we possibly can, and that will be the goal in the doubles tomorrow.
“It was a difficult match in some respects as I thought I’d be playing Ivan [Ljubicic] and that’s the match I’d been preparing myself for and I only got to know that he wasn’t going to be able to play earlier today, so I had to make some pretty quick adjustments mentally.
“I think he’s gone to hospital for some tests – hopefully he’ll be back to full health as soon as possible.
“In terms of the match it was difficult not getting too emotional but I think
|Tim Henman believes that the doubles rubber may hold the key to victory in Great Britain’s Davis Cup World Group play-off tie with Croatia this weekend.
“I think the singles are all going to be very tight,” explained the 33-year-old, who has announced that this will be his last competitive outing before retiring.
“[Ivan] Ljubicic and [Marin] Cilic are obviously both really good players, but the fact that we’re playing on grass definitely favours us so I think all of the singles rubbers are there to be won but could go either way.
“But I think we definitely have the edge as far as the doubles is concerned and it helps that we have some options.
“For most of my career we’ve had to play all three days and when you’re playing best of five sets it becomes very draining both mentally and physically.
“But with Jamie Murray now in the squad it means we have a few more options and we can see how the singles goes on the opening day before deciding who will play on Saturday, so that helps enormously.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the doubles is going to be key – and I like our chances.
“Overall the tie is a tough one to call, home advantage does count for an awful lot in Davis
|The Great Britain Davis Cup team took to the courts of the All England Club on Monday as preparations began in earnest for this weekend’s World Group play-off tie against Croatia, which gets underway on Friday September 21.
The tie will be played on the No.1 Court at Wimbledon, which has been re-seeded since the Championships finished 10 weeks ago.
Both teams were allowed to play on the court on Monday, with Croatia practising from 12 noon until 13:00 and Britain following suit an hour later.
“The court’s in great condition,” said Tim Henman, who practised with Andy Murray for the full hour after both warmed up separately on other courts beforehand.
“It feels a bit strange to be playing on grass this late in the year but historically it’s never taken me too long to adapt to my favourite surface and hopefully it won’t take me very long this time around either.
“The tie is definitely going to be a close one; you could argue strongly for either team winning any of the rubbers.
“But hopefully the fact that we’re playing on grass at home will prove to be decisive.”
British fans will be hoping that the good weather that South West England has enjoyed over the past few weeks continues, because should it rain the tie may have
I’ve decided to take my tennis a little more seriously and I wondered whether you think I should give up playing squash altogether as a result?
Tim says: “In terms of squash being a help or a hindrance I think there are probably a few pros and a few cons.
Firstly, it always helps if you have good eye-ball co-ordination, and playing squash will help you develop this further and it will definitely help you with your fitness too.
However, many players who try to combine the two sports find it difficult because the technique involved is very different.
As I’m sure you know, in order to execute most of the basic shots in squash you need to use the wrist a lot, whereas in tennis if you try and do the same it can prove a bit of a hindrance, and most players who try and combine the two sports have trouble controlling the ball as a result.
But I do have a few friends that play both sports well, so there’s no doubt that it’s possible to combine both squash and tennis and be able to play them both to a decent level.
It will take considerable time and effort on your part but I think it will definitely prove worth it in the long run.…