Interview: Tim Henman

Now he's not playing, Tim Henman can tell the truth - and watch the final with no regrets (honest!)

Do you have any bittersweet feelings when you watch the Wimbledon men’s final, knowing you were never in one?

God, no, no. I can’t honestly say that I watched the final in the four years when I lost in the semi-finals [1998/9, 2001/2], but I did watch in other years, and I love watching it now.

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What’s your view on the women’s game, as opposed to the men’s, which we all know is at an all-time high?

I think the women’s game is very exciting too, because it’s so open.

That sounds like the “right”, as opposed to the “honest”, answer.

No, that’s my honest answer. In the past, it’s been more predictable, with the Williams sisters winning nine of the past 11 Wimbledon finals. But now it’s much more open, which adds to the intrigue. It’s great the other girls have got an opportunity. And the story, of the challenge for Venus and Serena, not having played for so long, will be amazing to see.

Honest view, please, on women players earning the same prize money as men.

Look at the way the tournament is sold, to TV rights and sponsorship rights: it’s not sold as the men’s and the women’s, it’s sold as “The Championships” so why wouldn’t they be entitled to 50 per cent?

Do your three girls [Rosie, aged eight, Olivia, six, and Grace, three] play tennis?

A little bit, but I wouldn’t say there are any budding stars at this age.

A player probably finds it hard to speak his mind, whereas a commentator can be freer.

Yes, that’s what we’re there for, to pass on some of our previous experience and our opinions. When I was playing, I was trying to deflect as much attention as possible. You don’t want any distractions, so you keep things inside, and on lots of occasions I gave the right answer instead of the honest one.

The finals are being shown this year in 3D. What’s 3D television like?

I haven’t seen any sport in 3D, so I don’t know how it will improve things – it will add another dimension, I guess!

We thought you were a sports obsessive?

I am a massive sports fan. I love watching the Premier League and rugby, golf, snooker, cricket, darts, you name it. I can’t do horses, actually.

Do you have a guilty TV pleasure?

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A Question of Sport. That’s a bit of a boring answer, but I’ve been on it about 11 times and of course it’s all about sport. Darts isn’t a guilty pleasure, is it? Name me some programmes. My wife watches a bit of EastEnders, so I’ll watch that sometimes.