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Tim stays calm as he faces tall order.

Byline: By Mark Stainforth

Tim Henman is unfazed by the mountainous task ahead of him when he begins his US Open campaign at Flushing Meadows today.

The British number one must overcome 6ft 10in Croatian Ivo Karlovic if he is to make any impression in the final Grand Slam of the year.

Karlovic shot to fame when he stunned top seed and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of last year's Wimbledon.

Henman ( seeded five in New York ( is coming face to face with the gangly giant from Zagreb for the first time.

But he insists he has his game-plan sorted out for a first round test he would much rather have avoided.

Henman said: "Ivo is a tough opponent to play because he doesn't let you settle into any kind of rhythm.

"But you know what to expect and it is pretty obvious what you have got to do to stop him.

"He has a huge service game and I think it's going to be important for me to take care of my own service games. I have to be nice and patient and then be ready to take any opportunities that come my way," Henman told his official website, www.timhenman.org.

Karlovic has slowly made his way up the rankings to his present 52 since the Hewitt hype subsided. He has endured an inconsistent season, winning just one of his first nine games, but subsequently reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and the last 16 of the Olympics.

Henman's big challenges do not end with Karlovic if he is to reach his elusive first Grand Slam final.

He is likely to have to get past fellow Briton Greg Rusedski, former champion Andre Agassi and world number one Roger Federer just to reach the semi-finals. But he is struggling to reproduce the form which swept him to an unlikely last four meeting with Guillermo Coria in the French Open in May. Following a disappointing Wimbledon quarter-final defeat to Mario Ancic, Henman suffered conclusive defeats to Gustavo Kuerten and Hewitt in the American hardcourt season.

And his Olympic dream ended almost as soon as it had begun when he was bumped out of Athens in the first round by Jiri Novak.

But Henman remains confident of success and is looking forward to working again with his coach Paul Annacone. Henman added: "Since I arrived here a week ago practice has gone really well. It has been good to hook back up with Paul again and the time we have spent on court has been very worthwhile."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 31, 2004
Words:429
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