Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Henman happy as spotlight goes past


Beats El Aynaoui in straight sets

By Alex Blumer
Enquirer contributor

MASON - Much of the tennis world's focus seems to be on Roger Federer and Andy Roddick these days, but for Tim Henman, a little time out of the media glare isn't such a bad thing.

PHOTO GALLERY
photo gallery
Photos of Tuesday's action
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The fifth-seeded Englishman whipped an ailing Younes El Aynaoui 6-1, 6-0 Tuesday afternoon to set up a second-round meeting with another Moroccan, Hicham Arazi, at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

"The attention on them is absolutely warranted," Henman said of Federer and Roddick, the top two players in the ATP rankings. "To be able to just work on things and play my matches under a little less intensity of spotlight is definitely something that I enjoy post-Wimbledon."

Known as a grass-court specialist, Henman made a surprise semifinal appearance on the clay at the French Open this spring.

But Henman, whose failure to make it past the semis in his home Slam has been well-documented by the English press, bowed out to unseeded Mario Ancic in the Wimbledon quarters.

Henman got this tournament off to a good start against El Aynaoui, who was a career-high 14th in the world at the end of last season but has been limited to just three matches all year (0-3) due to various injuries.

"It's not always easy playing a match like that," Henman said.

"Obviously, he's had some trouble with his shoulder."

Henman has had success here in the past, reaching the final in 2000 and the semis in 2001.

But anything less than a Wimbledon title probably won't satisfy his home fans, who haven't seen a British men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

Said his coach, Paul Annacone, jokingly: "I don't think he's ever going to get away from that until he's not British."




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Federer is frustrated again
Photos of Tuesday's action
Down a set, Roddick finds game in time
Hrbaty downs No. 1 player - again
Henman happy as spotlight goes past
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Family, success on court link coaches
Masters schedule, results

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