Tim is a hugely popular former British number 1 tennis player. He is honoured at Wimbledon by having an area in the grounds named after him — Henman Hill, as it is known, is where crowds of people without showcourt tickets can watch the tennis matches live on a giant television screen at the side of No. 1 Court. Since retiring he has become a familiar commentary voice for the BBC’s coverage of both Wimbledon, and the ATP World Tour Finals.
He began playing tennis aged 2 1/2 with his parents Anthony, a solicitor, and Jane, a dress designer and former junior Wimbledon competitor, on the family’s grass-court. He had decided on a tennis playing career aged six. His grandfather Henry Billington competed at Wimbledon, reaching the third round in 1948, 1950-51 and represented Great Britain in Davis Cup ties in 1948, 1950-51. His grandmother Susan Billington also competed at Wimbledon, advancing to the third round of the ladies doubles in 1951, 1955-56. His great grandmother, Ellen Stanwell-Brown, was first lady to serve over-arm at Wimbledon in 1901.
Style of Play and Successes
The former long-time British No. 1 was a serve-volley exponent on the major stage between 1996 and 2007, winning 11 ATP singles titles from 23 finals and four ATP doubles titles from six finals. He attained a career-high No. 4 singles ranking (8 July 2002) and a doubles career-high of No. 63 (21 February 2000). At Wimbledon he advanced to four semi-finals (1998-99, 2001-02) and four quarter-finals (1996-97, 2003-04).
On 7 July 2004, he was awarded ‘Officer of Order of British Empire’ [OBE] for service to tennis by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
At different times in his career, Tim was coached by David Lloyd, David Felgate, Larry Stefanki and Paul Annacone.
He was a member of the 1997-98 ATP Player Council, served as ATP Charities Chairman in 2000 and for his personal charity Kids at Heart. He also donated £100 for every ace during 2000 and fired a career-high 537 aces. In 2001, he donated $735 for every match win during season (he won 51 matches). He also auctioned off a match to highest bidder with himself at Centre Court, Wimbledon, in 2002, which sold for £25,000.
Tim announced his retirement at a media conference on 23 August 2007 and retired after helping Great Britain beat Croatia 4-1 in a Davis Cup World Group play-off on Court One at Wimbledon on 22 September 2007. He has worked as a BBC TV commentator at Wimbledon (2008-present) and at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London (2009-present).
Tim married his long-term girlfriend Lucy Heald on 11 December 1999. The couple have three daughters.
He is an excellent motivational speaker.