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2004 Jul 15 - Olympics: Henman is out

Tim Henman's hopes of achieving Olympic glory were crushed as he lost 6-3 6-3 to Czech Jiri Novak in the first round of the men's singles event.

The British No.1 could not have hoped for a better start to the first set as he broke in the opening game. This stunned the Czech into action as he recovered the break immediately and then proceeded to go a break up. Jiri then faltered and recovered the solo break but was then unable to hold his own serve and Jiri was able to wrap up the set.

The second set proved to be just as tough with Jiri breaking early. Tim was unable to make any headway on Jiri's serve and then failed to hold his own serve while trailing 5-3 to hand set and match to the Czech.

Conditions on the court were less than perfect due to the high winds and there was barely an atmosphere with fewer than 300 people turning out to watch.

After the match Tim said:

"I got off to a good start after a break in the first game. But then he hardly made an error for four games and put me in a difficult situation.

"It was a battle of who would handle the wind the best and I certainly didn't.

"We shouldn't be surprised by the fact he won. Novak is a world class player and he's been in the world's top 10.

"I've lost a little bit of rhythm in my game and that's something I need to get back.

"I played the last two tournaments in the States and I didn't feel particularly comfortable out there, but I am healthy now.

"I haven't played that great in the last few weeks, but I have played some good tournaments this year. I just need to get back on the practise court and work on starting to feel good about my game again.

"I have to make sure that I am fit for the US Open."

"I won a silver medal in 1996 so I know the importance of winning in the Olympic Games. I am very disappointed. Marks out of 10? No more than a five."

Tim has been called a number of names in his career but the Greek officials writing his name on the news conference board first spelt it "Tim Hammon" before correcting to "Tim Hemmon" and then finally getting it right at the third time of asking!

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