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Lawn Tennis: Greg: I am just too old for this; WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2006 Rusedski may retire after early SW19 exit.


GREG RUSEDSKI last night insisted he would make no "rash decisions" about his future after crashing out of Wimbledon in the first round.

The British number one lost 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Russian Marat Safin and, with his 33rd birthday approaching in September, could well have played his last match at the All England Club.

"I haven't made any decision on that yet," said Rusedski, who has a solitary quarter-final appearance in 1997 to show for 14 appearances at Wimbledon. "I'd be silly to make a rash decision this very moment.

"It's trying to find the motivation day in, day out. I think that's the hardest thing, the older you get, always having to fight back.

"You have to look and see how much you want to come back and how much you have left in the tank, because you can only do it so many times in your life.

"I think I've had more comebacks than most tennis players, maybe bar Mr Agassi."

Agassi, 36, announced on Saturday this Wimbledon would be his last and he would retire after the US Open later this year, and Rusedski added: "I think it's hard for any tennis player or any athlete to make that decision.

"I think the older you get, you have those thought processes going in your mind, especially once you pass the age of 30. I think any tennis player here has that thought who's reached that sort of age on the tennis circuit.

"I'm just obviously very disappointed right now. I'm just going to go back, not make any decisions today, and have a few days off, then contemplate what I'm going to do."

But while Rusedski was contemplating the end of his career, fellow Brit Andy Murray showed his future looks brigght after making short work of Olympic champion Nicolas Massu to get his Wimbledon campaign up and running in some style on Centre Court yesterday.

The 19-year-old Scot produced a dazzling array of searing ground strokes and delightful drop shots to bewilder his Chilean opponent and claim a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory.

Revelling in his return to Centre Court after last year's heroic third-round defeat to David Nalbandian, Murray charged through the first set in just 23 minutes.

It leaves Murray as Britain's great hope although old guard Tim Henman still proved he can cut the mustard on grass after battling past Sweden's Robin Soder-ling in five sets in their delayed first-round match.

Henman is now relishing experiencing a new Wimbledon sensation when he takes on Roger Federer next - playing a match without pressure.

Henman will face the defending champion and world number one on Centre Court today.

And the British number three will be a massive underdog against his good friend Federer, who surpassed Bjorn Borg's record of 41 consecutive victories on grass with a comprehensive demolition of France's Richard Gasquet.

"If you are looking at a favourite or underdog, Roger is definitely the favourite," admitted Henman following his 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 1-6 6-3 victory on court one.

"It feels good to be playing a match with very little pressure and expectation and I want to go out there and let it happen.

"I've not played him for a while (and Federer has won the last three) but I know my game matches up well against him. I've beaten him six times and it's a fantastic opportunity. I won't be thinking about his record or the streak he's on. I know him well, I've played and practised against him many times, it's very much another match for me."

Henman had beaten Soderling in straight sets in the third round at Wimbledon in 2003, but there was no chance of a repeat from the moment he squandered three set points in the opening tie-break.

The 31-year-old, making his 13th appearance in the championships, then served a double fault at set-point down to lose it 10-8.

Henman questioned the call with the umpire at the change of ends and admitted he would like to see technology used to aid the officials.

"It's a very difficult job with how hard we're hitting the ball and how close to the lines, but if we've got the technology I'd be in favour of using it," Henman added.


Andy Murray in action against Nicolas Massu yesterday while(inset)Tim Henmans alutes the Wimbledon crowd after his hard fought victory over Robin Soderling.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2006
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