Tributes selected to go on the site just now. (including mine
An enormous THANK YOU for all the brilliant memories. It’s been a huge rollercoaster since you emerged as the saviour of British tennis but SO much fun with the highs vastly outdoing the lows! I've been privileged and lucky enough to be courtside for almost all of your home matches, most Davis Cup ones including Ecuador and many others. We will miss your fabulous style of tennis, professionalism and work ethic so much and Wimbledon and Henman Hill just won't be the same next year. As you say, you gave it everything you could and who could ask for more? Wishing you every success in whatever you decide to do next – can't wait to see what that will be but I'm sure your dignified, professional approach will prove invaluable to British and world tennis. We are so lucky to have had you and now it’s the turn of your family to see more of you. Enjoy every minute with your new baby and your gorgeous girls. Thanks again Tim for the ride – I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Neil Porter, 20, Scotland
Tim is the reason I play tennis. Year after year, despite not being very good, I turn out for my small local club and play in as many matches as I am available for. I watched him play Carlos Moya at Wimbledon this year after securing re-sale tickets for £5 and I would gladly have paid £50! The best match I remember, (and most would probably agree) was the 2001 Wimbledon semi against Goran. The first time I saw him live was in the Davis Cup in Birmingham, and I'm delighted to say that I'll be on Court 1 once again in two weeks for the final professional matches of his career (although I'm not ruling out a surprise WC at Wimbledon 2008!). Thanks for all the memories and all the inspirations. You are a legend, and my sporting hero. Good luck in your retirement – enjoy it, you have earned it.
From: Liz Roe
For me Tim is simply irreplaceable. For years he has been British tennis, shouldering the huge burden of expectation and so proud to represent his country in Davis Cup. Throughout he has remained quite simply a gentleman. He has always given 110% to his preparation and his matches and his record of consistency speaks for itself. My memories of his great matches are so many that it's difficult to choose one, but a very recent example of his application and determination must be his first round match at this year's Wimbledon against Carlos Moya. I was courtside for the first day/night and the atmosphere was as electric as for any of his matches on Centre Court over the years. To come out with a win the next day, and the way it was executed, is a shining example of just what we shall all miss as Tim retires. He's just been so very special.
From: Julie Parker, Nottingham
I want to thank Tim for all the exciting times he's given us. I've seen him at tournaments in Nottingham over the years – once in a Davis Cup tie against India and twice at the Nottingham Open (including this year when he lost to Tursunov – happy he got his revenge at the US Open!). I cried when he lost to Ivanisevic at Wimbledon in 2001 – he was robbed of a place in the final. He has always had me on the edge of my seat at his matches and he's always given everything he's got. I wish him well for the future.
I'll always remember that amazing Davis Cup tie with the USA at the NEC [in Birmingham]. The tennis was superb, the atmosphere was electric and the commitment of all the players absolute. It even had my sports-phobic brother watching for a while which is a major achievement. Watching Tim is definitely bad for the blood pressure but he has given tennis lovers many hours of entertainment over the years. He's been a great ambassador for Britain and I wish him well for the future.
Thank you Tim for all the pleasure you have given over the past 14 years – you are a true representative of British tennis and have always made every match worth watching.
From: Alistair Yeoman
Tim, you’ve always been a real hero, more in my eyes than even Roger Federer. Whenever you’ve been defeated you’ve walked off the court gracefully, whenever you were unhappy with a decision you would talk to the umpire reasonably, whenever you played you would fight endlessly… and to me that is more significant than any cup or trophy. You’re a great tennis player, a great man and a great role model. Keep feeding your knowledge of tennis back into the community as you have done for so many years
From: Helen Watson
A friend and I went to Flushing Meadow for the US Open in 2005. We were due to fly home the morning of the day of the men’s singles semi-final and of course Tim had reached the semis. We enquired about the possibility of tickets and these seemed to be available. So we phoned British Airways and made a great thing of our being British and that our man had reached the semi-final and we had gone to New York just for the tennis – please, please, please could we change our flight? To our amazement, yes, was the reply, can you get to JFK in time to report for the 8pm flight to Heathrow. This meant a reporting time of 6pm at the latest but we thought it was worth the rush at the end of the match. I felt so proud being British that day and Tim played well but lost to Federer. We had a great rush at the end of the match to get a taxi and to the airport but we made it. I was reading the US Open magazine on the flight home, and the flight crew who had watched the match on television in their hotel rooms were really jealous we had actually been at the match. I have seen Tim play at Wimbledon and at Queen’s but this memory of being at Flushing Meadows will never leave me. And I am really looking forward to being at Wimbledon for his farewell.
From: Paul Hutchins
Besides the wonderful sportsmanship, character, style, talent, endeavour and handling of the British public expectations a small incident in La Manga I recall when Tim was around 16/17 years of age. I doubt if players, especially juniors, are truly aware of the ball change rule during a match and exactly when the balls should be changed. The player accepts the umpire is counting accurately. A British junior was playing a match for GB at La Manga. I was on holiday with the family and was watching him play. The ball change was, say, after nine games and then every 11 games. The match was long and there had been several ball changes. The umpire stated the score in the third set and said ‘ball change’ and within one second the player corrected the umpire and said it was the next game for the ball change. It may not seem significant when writing it now but at the time I clearly remember saying to myself, ‘Wow, there is a very smart junior, totally aware of the ball change and how many other players would even bother, let alone know that an error had been made.’ That player happened to be Tim and after following his career with great interest and admiration it has always stuck in my mind. The La Manga quick correction, covered in clay and under duress in the third set but still totally aware of all that surrounds him, is a small example but typifies Tim as a person. Smart, quick and aware both on and off court. British tennis has been very fortunate and we should all appreciate his great contribution.
From: Richard West
I think Henman has produced brilliantly over the years. For me his run to the semi-finals at the US and French Opens really cemented his career. Just because he never won Wimbledon does not detract from what he did achieve. A true sportsman who always gave 100% of himself. That’s a good memory to leave to other aspiring tennis players. We need many more Tims. Thanks for the rollercoaster.
From: Pauline Kinder, Penryn Tennis Club, Cornwall
He's the greatest thing that happened to British tennis and such a nice guy. Having met him just after his shoulder operation with a winner of an Ariel competition at Queen’s, he gave a lot of time to the children and the winner came away with his tennis racket. She still plays – an U16 now playing U18 county and senior team tennis and she has many happy memories of that day. In Davis Cup, he's been a rock and l will be there to see his last match. Because he never won a Grand Slam, l don't think many British people know how well he did for all those years and if it hadn't been for three great tennis players – two Americans and a Swiss – who knows what may have happened. I know he will be putting something back into the game.
From: Anne and Tim Brown
I felt the same the day Concorde was grounded – sadness that I will never again relish the spectacle but grateful that I am part of the history. As tennis followers, my husband and I ‘knew’ Tim BEFORE the ball-girl incident and watched his rise through the rankings. We saw him break into the top 100, then into the 40s. It was brilliant. We lived in Melbourne from 1995-2006 so his live matches we saw were at Flinders, or now of course, Melbourne Park, although we had many a late night living every point on the TV at Wimbledon. The patch of carpet in front our TV was worn out!
In no particular order we have fond memories of:
* The night match against Michael Chang on the Rod Laver arena in Melbourne. We were new to Australia and astounded at the British support that seemed to materialise in the tennis centre from nowhere. We thought we’d be alone with our Union Jack – not! It was fantastic to be part of it.
* The matches on Margaret Court arena where, again, the Brits seemed to converge from nowhere with flags and painted faces and probably the best songs of all the nations (bar the Swedes of course).
* Holding the trophy aloft in Sydney, against Haarhuis at Wimbledon, against Courier at Wimbledon, against Moya at Wimbledon.
* Tim making the sports headlines in the Melbourne Age because of his results at Wimbledon and the French.
* McEnroe talking about Henman in glowing terms.
* The other players talking about Henman as a friend. He seemed to be respected by all the other players.
* We were there in the twilight – when he played Tursunov in Australia in 2006 – and thought it might be the last Henman match we’d see in Australia.
We got our Davis Cup tickets a while ago when they were first released mainly to see Tim and co play for Britain but in the back of our minds we wondered even then if it might be Tim’s last match. We’ve had a rollercoaster ride. We’ve had a ball. Thank you, Tim.
From: Jonathan Whitney
I think being in the top 10 for 10 years is good enough for me. Not many people can reach such a high level of consistency.
From: Fay Lebovic
I've been a tennis fan for over 50 years, and was glued to my TV throughout Wimbledon. Tim's arrival on the scene enhanced that enjoyment more than I could possibly say. He's not only a great tennis player, with a style that unfortunately seems to be dying out, but a great sportsman – and a great person. His net play and his phenomenal speed around the court have marked him out as a great serve-volleyer, and his relentless work ethic kept him in the top four in the world for long enough for us to appreciate just what a fantastic player he was. Following his career throughout has been a HUGE blessing for me. I've watched him live at Davis Cup fixtures, on TV during his Wimbledon exploits, and followed news of his tennis wherever he's played around the world. I think we in Britain should be proud that he's one of us – admired and supported by countless fans of all nationalities and in virtually every country around the world.
I have been a Tim Henman supporter for nearly ten years and I will be extremely sad to see him go as he has the most beautiful, stylish game in tennis and nobody can get a crowd as excited and involved in a match like Tim Henman can. There has never been a match that I have watched when I thought he hasn't given his best. It will be very strange to watch Wimbledon next year without Tim competing. It will never be the same without him. The reason I support Tim is not because he is British but because of his natural ability, the amount of passion he has for the game and for the fact that even when he loses he has the good grace to say "too good". In all the ten years I have watched him play I can honestly say I have never missed one match. He is the man that has carried Britain through the Davis Cup almost single-handedly and I know that everyone will miss him. "Come on Tim."