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View Full Version : How would a prime Henman do in this era?


UKTennis
10-12-2012, 05:38 AM
Highest ranking of number 4 in the world in 2002 (from Wikipedia) and reached the semi final of every slam bar the Australian Open including a 4 time semi-finalist at Wimbledon. If Tsonga, Baghdatis, Soderling and Berdych can reach Slam finals in this era then I think Henman would have had a shot of doing so as well, although like those mentioned I don't think he would have won a final either. It would have been interesting to see Henman's serve and volley style against the baseliners of today. The likes of Stepanek and Llodra are the minority of today's era who serve and volley (and both are way past their prime) and I think Henman is a comfortably superior player to them both.

The Bawss
10-12-2012, 05:42 AM
Henman would probably have had a worse career then he did in the 90s/early 2000s. The surfaces are simply too slow for S&V. He had the misfortune of coming up against prime Sampras at Wimbledon but facing Federer is a similarly daunting prospect (we have empirical evidence for Fed owning Henman anyway).

As much as I like Henman, I can't see his game being successful nowadays.

tennis_pro
10-12-2012, 05:53 AM
50-80 % of what he achieved in the 90's/00's.

50% because surfaces on general are slower and Henman thrived on pace. 80 % because he wasn't a complete newbie on clay, just based on his 2004 FO run.

AnotherTennisProdigy
10-12-2012, 05:56 AM
He'd be the best volleyer on tour, not that it matter when winning at the moment.

ahuimanu
10-12-2012, 06:05 AM
Highest ranking of number 4 in the world in 2002 (from Wikipedia) and reached the semi final of every slam bar the Australian Open including a 4 time semi-finalist at Wimbledon. If Tsonga, Baghdatis, Soderling and Berdych can reach Slam finals in this era then I think Henman would have had a shot of doing so as well, although like those mentioned I don't think he would have won a final either. It would have been interesting to see Henman's serve and volley style against the baseliners of today. The likes of Stepanek and Llodra are the minority of today's era who serve and volley (and both are way past their prime) and I think Henman is a comfortably superior player to them both.

Think Henman would have to develop a stronger backcourt game and use the serve and volley as variety instead of the main course to survive today. Stepanek (like Haas) has adapted his game nicely by using court knowledge and touch to counter the pace of today's big hitters. Interestingly, I see Baghdatis trying to slug it out with the young guys these days and straying away from strengths (court knowledge, touch and consistency).

UKTennis
10-12-2012, 06:18 AM
Henman would probably have had a worse career then he did in the 90s/early 2000s. The surfaces are simply too slow for S&V. He had the misfortune of coming up against prime Sampras at Wimbledon but facing Federer is a similarly daunting prospect (we have empirical evidence for Fed owning Henman anyway).

As much as I like Henman, I can't see his game being successful nowadays.

Fed would have beaten Henman I agree, however Fed has destroyed practically every guy on tour bar Djokovic and Nadal (don't mention Berdych because a prime Fed would swat him aside regularly). So that isn't exactly a negative. I think from around 04-06 he may have had his best chance of a Slam, even though it would have almost certainly meant facing a prime Fed, anyone else would have been beatable. (But beating Fed would have been an extremely minimal chance, see Roddick). From 07 onwards you've then got the emergence of Nadal and Djokovic (and Murray), so things get tougher. There's no way for instance Henman would have beaten Nadal or Djokovic's in their respective peak years, yet Roddick reached the Wimbledon final in 09, Berdych in 2010 etc so there are openings.

How do you think Henman would have done at Wimbledon this year, if he were in Murray's part of the draw? Lose to Murray?

The Bawss
10-12-2012, 06:28 AM
Fed would have beaten Henman I agree, however Fed has destroyed practically every guy on tour bar Djokovic and Nadal (don't mention Berdych because a prime Fed would swat him aside regularly). So that isn't exactly a negative. I think from around 04-06 he may have had his best chance of a Slam, even though it would have almost certainly meant facing a prime Fed, anyone else would have been beatable. (But beating Fed would have been an extremely minimal chance, see Roddick). From 07 onwards you've then got the emergence of Nadal and Djokovic (and Murray), so things get tougher. There's no way for instance Henman would have beaten Nadal or Djokovic's in their respective peak years, yet Roddick reached the Wimbledon final in 09, Berdych in 2010 etc so there are openings.

How do you think Henman would have done at Wimbledon this year, if he were in Murray's part of the draw? Lose to Murray?

I think he could have sliced and diced Murray. Would have been a tough match, probably 5 sets. Could go either way in my opinion.

NadalAgassi
10-12-2012, 07:43 AM
Not well at all. This isnt the era of the underpowered serve and volleyer with a finesse game. In fact this would the worst era for such a player to try and fit in.

NJ1
10-12-2012, 07:47 AM
I think he could have sliced and diced Murray. Would have been a tough match, probably 5 sets. Could go either way in my opinion.

Couldn't disagree more. I think Murray has way too much of a rounded game combined with his power for Henman's wily tactics, and that slice backhand-only was horrific to watch. But Henman was a decent player, he may well have caused big problems for slow payers lacking touch like Berdych just as he did with Ivanisevic (who was better than the Berdman)

UKTennis
10-12-2012, 08:10 AM
Couldn't disagree more. I think Murray has way too much of a rounded game combined with his power for Henman's wily tactics, and that slice backhand-only was horrific to watch. But Henman was a decent player, he may well have caused big problems for slow payers lacking touch like Berdych just as he did with Ivanisevic (who was better than the Berdman)

I'm not sure. Murray has a good record against ball bashers and power hitters, but he hasn't really ever played a top serve and volleyer like Henman. I think Henman could beat Murray, but I'd still put it 70-30% in Murray's favour.

The Bawss
10-12-2012, 08:17 AM
Couldn't disagree more. I think Murray has way too much of a rounded game combined with his power for Henman's wily tactics, and that slice backhand-only was horrific to watch. But Henman was a decent player, he may well have caused big problems for slow payers lacking touch like Berdych just as he did with Ivanisevic (who was better than the Berdman)

If prime 2012 Murray can lose to Mahut on grass, he can damn well lose to Henman too.

Nostradamus
10-12-2012, 08:22 AM
He would be ranked around #30-40 in ATP tour. Just doesn't have the weapons like big forehand and huge serve. very athletic netgame but that doesn't cut it anymore in the tour.

EndLy
10-12-2012, 12:00 PM
I'd have to agree with the majority of the previous posts. Henman would struggle in this environment. I view him very similarly to Stepanek or Llorda. Sure he has a better net game, but his ability at the baseline wouldn't keep him in the match. Not enough fire power behind anything. In today's game, it's evident the worst thing to specialize in is net play.

NadalAgassi
10-12-2012, 12:19 PM
I think a player who plays the "BIG" attacking game like Sampras or Becker could do well today. Someone like Henman or even Rafter though no. They would be better suited to the 80s in fact than even when they played.

Mainad
10-12-2012, 12:30 PM
If prime 2012 Murray can lose to Mahut on grass, he can damn well lose to Henman too.

They played each other 4 times with Murray leading the H2H 3-1. They never met on grass. They played 3 matches on hardcourt which Murray led 2-1 and 1 match on carpet which Murray won.

Henman actually won their last ever meeting in the 1st round of 2006 Bangkok in straight sets. It was his only win over Murray in their 4 meetings.

The Bawss
10-12-2012, 01:06 PM
They played each other 4 times with Murray leading the H2H 3-1. They never met on grass. They played 3 matches on hardcourt which Murray led 2-1 and 1 match on carpet which Murray won.

Henman actually won their last ever meeting in the 1st round of 2006 Bangkok in straight sets. It was his only win over Murray in their 4 meetings.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=MC10&oId=M873

Queen's club 2012. Keep up, please.

Mainad
10-12-2012, 01:24 PM
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=MC10&oId=M873

Queen's club 2012. Keep up, please.

I thought we were talking about Henman. Mahut might just be a bad match-up for him on grass. Then again, we know Murray can lose to pretty nearly anybody if he's a mind to. :wink:

TMF
10-12-2012, 01:31 PM
Just about any s/v player, Henman would do worse in this era.

Max G.
10-12-2012, 01:44 PM
Same as before.

Look, everyone makes a mistake, I think, in thinking that a player's shots are an intrinsic part of who they are. Like, "Henman is a S&Ver, and S&Vers do worse now, so Henman would do worse now". But it's not like that. People pick their style to match what wins them matches when they're up-and-coming. If Henman came on to the scene today, he obviously wouldn't be a S&Ver! He'd be a baseliner like everyone else, and his shots and technique would be adjusted to fit in with that, with more spin on his groundies and less conservative grips and so on.

He'd probably be about the same as he was then. A talented player with nice athleticism and an all-around game, a little lacking in power, who mostly hangs out outside the top group but occasionally gives them trouble. Would probably sneak up to #5 on occasion but wouldn't stay there, would be a regular NEAR the top 10 but not consistently in it.

Towser83
10-12-2012, 01:51 PM
Same as before.

Look, everyone makes a mistake, I think, in thinking that a player's shots are an intrinsic part of who they are. Like, "Henman is a S&Ver, and S&Vers do worse now, so Henman would do worse now". But it's not like that. People pick their style to match what wins them matches when they're up-and-coming. If Henman came on to the scene today, he obviously wouldn't be a S&Ver! He'd be a baseliner like everyone else, and his shots and technique would be adjusted to fit in with that, with more spin on his groundies and less conservative grips and so on.

He'd probably be about the same as he was then. A talented player with nice athleticism and an all-around game, a little lacking in power, who mostly hangs out outside the top group but occasionally gives them trouble. Would probably sneak up to #5 on occasion but wouldn't stay there, would be a regular NEAR the top 10 but not consistently in it.

ah but would he be as good a baseliner as he is a serve and volleyer? I don't think he would.

TMF
10-12-2012, 02:04 PM
Same as before.

Look, everyone makes a mistake, I think, in thinking that a player's shots are an intrinsic part of who they are. Like, "Henman is a S&Ver, and S&Vers do worse now, so Henman would do worse now". But it's not like that. People pick their style to match what wins them matches when they're up-and-coming. If Henman came on to the scene today, he obviously wouldn't be a S&Ver! He'd be a baseliner like everyone else, and his shots and technique would be adjusted to fit in with that, with more spin on his groundies and less conservative grips and so on.

He'd probably be about the same as he was then. A talented player with nice athleticism and an all-around game, a little lacking in power, who mostly hangs out outside the top group but occasionally gives them trouble. Would probably sneak up to #5 on occasion but wouldn't stay there, would be a regular NEAR the top 10 but not consistently in it.

You could be right but that's not a guarantee if Henman would convert into a baseliner. Stepanek is still a s/v player. Taylor Dent comes in on every serve. Bjorkman and Santoro played s/v throughout their entire career in the 90s/00s. Mahut still hasn't change.

Who knows if Henman would be better had he became a baseliner. There are quality baseliners who isn't in the top 20(eg Bagdatis, Youznhy, Benneteau, Lopez...)

Max G.
10-12-2012, 04:16 PM
You could be right but that's not a guarantee if Henman would convert into a baseliner.

If he were playing today and were in his early 20s, he wouldn't "convert" to a baseliner. He would have never been a S&Ver in the first place. There's a reason that nobody's a serve-volleyer anymore, and that reason would have applied to Henman just as much as everyone else in the current crop of players.

NadalAgassi
10-12-2012, 04:17 PM
LOL like Henman would ever be a top player playing exclusively from the baseline.

Roy125
10-12-2012, 05:16 PM
I thought you said Henin in your title...that was a total fail.

hoosierbr
10-12-2012, 07:15 PM
Henman's consistency shows he was a much better all around player than he gets credit for here. The last three years of his career were marred by back injuries which is why he retired.

One could make the same argument that Sampras wouldn't have been as dominant with the likes of Djokovic and Murray around now who return so well. Returns overall have gotten so much better that big serves alone don't win majors anymore. Plus the surfaces, as was pointed out, are slower now and Sampras was a beast on the fast stuff.

It doesn't make much sense to have these discussions since the game is different now than even a few years ago. We should just enjoy Henman for what he did and lament that there isn't much of his game on offer anymore.

kishnabe
10-12-2012, 08:08 PM
If only they changed Grass in 2003 and not 2002. Henman would be Wimbledon Champ.

In a perfect world, Goran would be 98 Champ, Rafter 00 Champ, 01 Henman, 08 Federer, 09 Roddick,11 Tsonga.

Henman in this era would be a breath of fresh air. Only will contend in Indoors and Queens Grass. Ocasional brilliant Clay and Slow HC Runs.

Better in the era he was born.....sucks he had to deal with Sampras,Agassi, and Federer.

NadalAgassi
10-12-2012, 08:36 PM
If only they changed Grass in 2003 and not 2002. Henman would be Wimbledon Champ.


Highly doubtful. He has never beaten Hewitt anywhere, not even at Queens on very fast grass when Hewitt was younger. Hewitt is the worst possible matchup for him, with Hewitt or Sampras in the draw he was never winning Wimbledon.

hoosierbr
10-12-2012, 09:42 PM
Highly doubtful. He has never beaten Hewitt anywhere, not even at Queens on very fast grass when Hewitt was younger. Hewitt is the worst possible matchup for him, with Hewitt or Sampras in the draw he was never winning Wimbledon.

They played twice in 2006 in Miami and Queens. Henman won the first one and was up a set in the latter before he got hosed on a line call and self-destructed.

At his peak, though, Hewitt was a nightmare for Henman because of his passing shots and lob. Best backhand lob in the game still. They played in the SF in 2002 and Hewitt crushed him.

Henman's only other real shot was in 2004 when he lost in the QF to Ancic. Bad tactics there and a real shame since he had beaten Flip in the previous round who was the finalist the year before. Henman beat Roddick earlier that year in Indian Wells and would have had a real shot in the SF. A final with Federer would have been amazing on so many levels.

*Sparkle*
10-13-2012, 12:51 AM
If you mean peak, as in his general form during his peak, then I think he'd struggle now compared with then. Of course, he would change his game, but his game then suited him, and I don't think he'd be as good at the modern equivalent.

If the question is about Henman's absolute peak performance, his best ever play, being relocated in time, then of course it's possible he could get lucky and win a big tournament if those he's competing against aren't playing their absolute best. You could say that of any top ten player now, or in the past, so it's a moot point.

Vcore89
10-13-2012, 05:12 AM
Nearly as good as Andy Murray?

Bhagi Katbamna
10-13-2012, 10:54 AM
Henman would get killed by the third round. His one chance was when he played Hewitt to get to the finals and he blew it.