Andre Sa on playing Henman at Wimbledon: “When I won the second set, that’s when things got tricky”

The 2022 Wimbledon tournament has already kicked off with its preliminary round, as many of the main players such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are preparing to grace Centre Court. 

As this year’s Wimbledon is the 100th in the tournament’s history, Betway has been taking a trip  down memory lane through tennis’ oldest competition. 

Before Andy Murray captured the nation’s imagination to become the first British player to win the men’s singles trophy in 2013 – repeating the success in 2016Tim Henman was the man every optimistic British fan touted to break the hoodoo. 

During Henman’s road to an eventual semi-final finish in 2002, he met Andre Sa, an unseeded Brazilian who looked to cause an upset. 

“He (Henman) was the crowd favourite, that made it really really tough,” Sa told Betway. 

“I remember that 2002 was also the World Cup year, Brazil played England in the Quarter-Finals so the crowd was going crazy. I had the full Centre Court, 15,000 cheering against me.”

England’s football team ultimately crashed out of the World Cup due to Brazil beating them 2-1, after a Ronaldinho free-kick decided the game. 

So with hope of a World Cup not on the cards for another year, English sports fans pinned their hopes on Henman to take home the single men’s gold trophy. 

“When I won the second set, that’s when things got tricky, I think they started to worry a little bit, and then in the third set I started off with an early break and the crowd was really getting nervous. It had been a long time since a British player won Wimbledon. 

But fans inside Centre Court did not have to fear, as Henman advanced to the semi-finals after beating Sa 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. 

“The way he played, serving and volleying all the time, playing really aggressive – he didn’t give you much time. At the end of the day I think he played better than me.”

But it was heartbreak for Henman for a second consecutive year in the semi-finals, losing to eventual winner Lleyton Hewitt and would ultimately go as far as any singles male Brit had reached to that date.