Retiring Tim hoping to impress in Davis Cup

Tim Henman is ready to cap his rollercoaster career this afternoon by propelling Great Britain back into the Davis Cup elite.

Tim Henman is ready to cap his rollercoaster career this afternoon by propelling Great Britain back into the Davis Cup elite.

The 33-year-old is itching to bring the curtain down on 14 years as a professional tennis player by helping his country take an unassailable 3-0 lead in their World Group play-off against Croatia.

Great Britain captain John Lloyd will today unveil his doubles pairing for the tie’s third rubber.

Henman is favourite to partner Jamie Murray on Wimbledon’s Court One following Andy Murray’s five-set singles marathon yesterday.

Asked if he was keen to play, Henman said: “Absolutely. This is a long weekend of tennis – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The job’s not done.

“After playing this long in my career, a couple more days isn’t going to be too much to ask.”

Andy Murray added: “I would probably say there’s a 75-80% chance that Tim and Jamie will play. If he wants to play, no-one’s going to argue against that.”

Henman revealed he would not take part in a dead rubber, so if he plays today and wins, British fans will be treated to a second emotional farewell within 24 hours for the former world number four.

He swept past world number 164 Roko Karanusic 6-4 6-3 6-2 in yesterday’s second singles rubber to put Great Britain 2-0 up in the best-of-five contest.

There were glimpses of vintage Henman – perhaps enough to give him second thoughts about retirement.

There was even the customary wobble as the four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist was broken when first serving for victory.

Other than that minor blip, Henman was pleased with the way he kept a lid on his emotions during the match.

“There were a couple of times I had to bring myself back a bit because it’s very easy for your mind to wander,” he said.

“Thinking about playing at Wimbledon, potentially in my last match, the emotions of that, the crowd, the atmosphere, my family watching, the team supporting – it was a pretty good opportunity for me to lose my concentration.”

However, once victory was secure, Henman had more difficulty fighting back the tears.

He said: “I was struggling a little bit. I spoke to (Roger) Federer yesterday - he warned me about speaking to (the BBC’s) Sue Barker after the match.

“It means an enormous amount to me. I did definitely try to soak up the atmosphere there.”

Henman was originally scheduled to face Croatia number one Ivan Ljubicic, who yesterday became his country’s third high-profile absentee when he developed a recurrence of a kidney stone problem.

Not yet officially ruled out, PA Sport understands the man who inspired Croatia to their 2005 Davis Cup triumph will not play any further part in the tie.

That is also good news for Andy Murray, who had been pencilled in to face the world number 12 tomorrow.

The Scot endured a nail-biting opening rubber against Marin Cilic yesterday, recovering from a sluggish start and a fourth-set slip to win 3-6 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-3.

Murray revealed his determination to ensure Henman goes out on a high.

“I haven’t been that fired up for a match for a long time,” he said. I may have been a little bit more nervous than usual. But nerves are a good thing – they show you care.”

Henman added: “My situation was probably an extra burden on him.

“I don’t want to draw the attention to myself. I want it to be about Great Britain and us getting back into the World Group.”

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