Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Tim Henman vs Greg Rusedski

hero_head_201 (2).jpg

When you think of the great tennis rivalries, the one between Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski isn’t the first to come to mind. But for me, that’s what makes it interesting. I know both players quite well, and I know they were both desperate to win a Grand Slam and be Britain’s No1. Not that they ever would have spoken about it. Henman has always been quiet, so they’d never exchange harsh words.

The fact that the rivalry was never played out in public is what gave it such a compelling intensity. There were subplots in their relationship, too. Rusedski had come over from Canada and taken some of the limelight from Henman, who — being a gentleman — didn’t say a word about it. Rusedski won BBC Sports Personality Of The Year in 1997; Henman came second. But then public opinion slowly came to value Henman as a more consistently talented player. As a fellow sportsman, I have always wondered what was really going on in their heads, as you could see the rivalry bubbling under the surface.

They were also startlingly different characters — Rusedski had celebrity girlfriends and did photoshoots for Hello!, while Henman was unassuming and quietly committed — and this difference came out on the court. I remember when they played each other in the third round of the Australian Open in 2002. Henman won in four sets and played some great, graceful tennis, whereas Rusedski was all power. He served half a dozen aces, dived for every ball and smashed volleys, while Henman stayed calm and cool. Rusedski was coming to the end of his career but Henman was firing up for one final push. It highlighted the differences between them and made for an enthralling battle.

By contrast, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s rivalry can be intense, yet they seem to like and respect each other. I guess it’s the mystery between Henman and Rusedski that has always intrigued me. These two very different guys were striving and competing for the same thing at the same time, and the unspoken tension was fascinating.

The Matt Dawson Rugby Academy in partnership with The Co-operative; co-operative.coop/activatesport

Related

195_head2head_195.jpg

West Ham United vs Liverpool

hero_head_189.jpg

Tottenham Hotspur vs Barnsley

UNited1.png

Busby Babes Reborn

Comments

More

This new statue of Cristiano Ronaldo is truly, hilariously awful

Uh-oh

by Sam Diss
29 Mar 2017

San Diego could vote to name its new soccer team 'Footy McFooty Face'

Stop this. Please, just stop it

by Tom Mendelsohn
28 Mar 2017

Ray Parlour's story of how Arsenal signed Igors Stepanovs is amazing

It was basically a prank on Martin Keown gone hugely wrong

by Dave Fawbert
28 Mar 2017

Man doing handstand on 18 dumbbells upstaged by old basketballer

Step forward, old bloke in the background

by Alex Finnis
27 Mar 2017

Manchester United fans are desperately hoping this new kit isn't real

This is absolutely terrible

by Dave Fawbert
27 Mar 2017

Jermain Defoe shares heartwarming photos of Bradley Lowery's day

I've got something in my eye

by Dave Fawbert
27 Mar 2017

Fan manages to outdo his amazing dunk with even better celebration

This clip has got everything

by Dave Fawbert
27 Mar 2017

All 20 Premier League clubs as Formula 1 cars

Which club looks best on the track?

by Tristan Cross
24 Mar 2017

Wrestling is coming back to Saturday UK TV after 30 years

We haven't had legit UK wrestling on telly since 1985 and the days of Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy

by Tom Mendelsohn
24 Mar 2017

The dartboard that makes everyone good at darts

One hundred and eighty!!! (Is impossible)

by Gary Ogden
22 Mar 2017