My London: Tim Henman

·3-min read
 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Home is…

In a small village south of Oxford with my wife, Lucy, and our three teenage daughters. We used to live in Barnes but we moved out here in 2004. We’ve got horses, dogs and cats, so you could call it a zoo. We still have a place in Barnes where I stay during Wimbledon.

Best meal you’ve had?

My retirement night at Nobu in 2007. The British team had just won our Davis Cup tie against Croatia at Wimbledon, so a dozen of us — including Andy and Jamie Murray — went out for a delicious dinner. I wasn’t paying, so I ordered lots of nice champagne and wine. That was a great way to bow out.

Which shops do you rely on?

Thom Sweeney for suits and Lacoste for casualwear. I’m a typical bloke when it comes to clothes shopping — I want to go in, bulk-buy, then get out as quickly as possible.

Who is your hero?

Björn Borg. My mum took me to Wimbledon for the first time in 1981. I was six, saw Borg play and decided I wanted to become a professional tennis player. Eventually I got to play him in an exhibition match at the Royal Albert Hall. I’ve never been so nervous on court. You’re supposed to keep your eye on the ball but I couldn’t help looking down the other end at him.

Bjorn Borg (AFP via Getty Images)
Bjorn Borg (AFP via Getty Images)

Biggest extravagance?

Wine. I’ve always enjoyed it, ever since trying my first glass of rosé on a family holiday to Portugal. When we moved into our house, I put in a cellar. I’ve got a half-decent collection but we made a dent in it during lockdown.

Where would you recommend for a first date?

A walk in Richmond Park, then a drink by the river. London’s parks are very special and Richmond has that slightly wilder feel with all the deer. Or maybe Henman Hill with a big jug of Pimm’s on a hot summer’s day.

Henman Hill (Alamy Stock Photo)
Henman Hill (Alamy Stock Photo)

What’s the best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

I had a brilliant one last week, actually. The driver said: ‘You won’t believe my level of knowledge about your matches at Wimbledon.’ He literally reeled off all these games from 1996 to 2006, some of which I’d half forgotten.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

I’d want an old building near some green space, so let’s go for Kensington Palace. You can organise that, right?

Kensington Palace (Alamy Stock Photo)
Kensington Palace (Alamy Stock Photo)

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Sort out the traffic. I can’t bear traffic jams, so if I have to go into town for work, I tend to leave home at 5.30am just to beat the rush.

Where do you go to let your hair down?

I go out with my friends in Barnes. I’m also a member of Beaverbrook Golf Club in Leatherhead and they’re about to open a townhouse on Sloane Street. It’s got hotel rooms, bars and a gourmet Japanese restaurant. I can’t wait to check it out.

Do you prefer playing or commentating at Wimbledon?

Playing, no doubt. I love my media work but playing on that stage is the pinnacle of our sport. That’s as good as it gets.

Where would you like to be buried?

Centre Court but the ground staff wouldn’t like it, so you’d have to do it in the middle of the night.

Tim Henman is part of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage from 28 June to 11 July

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