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2003 Dec 17 - Henman to emulate Sampras aggression

Paul Annacone is confident he will be able to transfer some of the skills which Pete Sampras used to such prolific effect to his new student Tim Henman.

High on the list is the Henman serve, which under previous coach Larry Stefanki was slow down to achieve greater percentage of serves in. This of course meant that against some of the best returners in the game the Henman serve was simply being annihilated - Australian Open 2002 4th Round defeat to Jonas Bjorkman was living proof.

Paul said:

"Parts of Pete can be put into Tim. Pete went into matches knowing that you must possess a weapon if you are going to attack.

"I want Tim to get more pop on his first serve and aggression on his second. If he double faults a few times, no problem.

"Technically there's nothing wrong with Tim's serving motion. We will need to work on a more aggressive philosophy.

"I watched Tim play Pete in a couple of Wimbledon Semi-Finals and know his serve can be a big weapon. His greatest strength is being a natural serve and volleyer."

Tim said:

"We both feel that it's important for me to be able to hurt my opponents and dictate matches as much as possible.

"That's one of the aspects of my game that I was most pleased about in Paris (Masters), and it's certainly something that we've been focusing on over the last few days and I'm sure it's something that I'll be trying to continue to work on as much as possible throughout next year.

"Paul and I have been friends for a while but this is the first time we've actually got out on court and worked on specific aspects of my game and it's been great.

"It was obvious right from the start that we viewed the game similarly and whilst there's been no huge overhaul of my game we've been working on some subtle changes that will hopefully help me on the match court."

Christmas may have come early for Tim in terms of a monumental Paris Masters title, but there is no let-up in his training programme.

Without a doubt Tim believes 2004 could be his year to go one better than fellow Brit Greg Rusedski who is the only British tennis player in modern times to have reached a Grand Slam singles Final (US Open 1997 - defeated by Pat Rafter 3-6 2-6 6-4 5-7).


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