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Summer Edition 2017

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INTERVIEW Tennis legend Tim Henman talks to School Notices about his early years on the circuit, how he left school at 16 to pursue his dream and his inspiring journey to the top How did you get into tennis? My mum and dad played as well as my two older brothers, so I started playing with my family. When did you know you wanted a professional career in tennis? My mum took me to Wimbledon for the first time when I was six and I saw Bjorn Borg play. That was when I made my one and only career decision. Who inspired you? Firstly, my dad. He played a lot of different sports to a good standard and is still the most competitive man I know. Borg and Stefan Edberg were my tennis heroes. When did you realise you had serious talent? I won my first tournament when I was eight, which was a county event. Then I won my regional final but lost in the national final. What was it like being a junior on the circuit? I really enjoyed playing junior tournaments and had lots of friends on the circuit. As a junior, how did you mentally prepare for matches? I tried to think about my game plan and the way I wanted to play. It’s important to focus on the process not the outcome. How many hours of training did you practise a day? From the age of 11, I played two hours of tennis and did 30 minutes of fitness training every day, six days a week during term time. In the school holidays, I played even more. I left school at 16 to play full time tennis. Did you have any superstitions or follow any rituals before getting on to the court? For my first few years playing at Wimbledon I always showered in the same shower, but then they redeveloped the changing rooms. Can you share some strategies for coping with the pressure on court? Pressure is all self-inflicted, so remember to play one point at a time and focus on the process. How did you keep your cool when umpire decisions didn’t go your way? I knew that getting frustrated would not help my performance. What advice do you have for young players when it comes to dealing with defeat? You learn more from your losses than your wins. Use it as motivation to get better. …and victory? Enjoy the moment, but “WHEN I WAS SIX AND I SAW BJORN BORG PLAY. THAT WAS WHEN I MADE MY ONE AND ONLY CAREER DECISION” SUMMER 17 ★ 19


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