I don’t think I saw it! – Henman still startled by Federer backhand 18 years on
- 10 Jul 2019
Tim Henman still has to see it to believe a moment of sheer class in his Wimbledon quarter-final victory over the great Roger Federer 18 years ago.
Federer was beaten in the opening round at the All England Club in 1999 and 2000 but went on to reach the last eight after winning his first main-draw match at the grass-court grand slam in 2001.
The legendary Swiss beat seven-time champion Pete Sampras to set up a showdown with home favourite Henman.
Briton Henman shattered Federer’s dreams of winning a first major with a 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 2-6 7-6 (8-6) victory to send Centre Court into raptures.
Federer has gone on to win 20 grand slam singles titles and will go in search of a 100th win at SW19 when he faces Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Henman vividly recalls his encounter with the eight-time Wimbledon champion, but it was a sublime winner from Federer that stands out.
He told Omnisport: “There is one backhand pass he hit, and I’ve seen it a few times since.
“I felt I volleyed as well as anyone and remember I hit a volley in one of the tie-breaks and he hit this backhand pass, which is one of the fastest shots I have ever seen. I’ve only seen it on television, I don’t think I saw it go past me!
“It’s funny that stands out, but obviously getting the victory and being through to the semi was a great memory.
“At the time he was a top-10 player on the up, but now I can look back and say it’s nice to have a victory over Federer on Centre Court on your CV.”
Henman thinks Federer has a great chance of regaining the title this weekend, but fancies Rafael Nadal’s chances of moving within one major triumph of his old foe.
He added: “I can see him [Federer] winning it, but if I had to pick one it would be Nadal. I’ve been so impressed with him so far.”