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No name change yet for Henman Hill

6/25/2009 - Tennis

WIMBLEDON, England -- Andy Murray will have to move mountains before Henman Hill gets a name change.

Murray may have risen to No. 3 in the world rankings but nostalgic British fans still cling to fond memories of Tim Henman, four times a semifinalist at Wimbledon who would put them through addictive agony every summer before going out.

The faithful love to gather on Henman Hill -- the grassy knoll overlooking Court 1 where fans can sit and cheer the action on a giant television screen.

It was nicknamed Henman Hill in fond tribute to the player they always hoped would end the drought at Wimbledon, where Fred Perry in 1936 was the last British winner of the men's singles.

The hill was packed again on Thursday, but this time the fans were cheering for Murray, a lanky 22-year-old with the weight of a nation's expectations upon him.

With the sun sinking behind Henman Hill, the fans sat drinking beer and cheering their new hero in his second-round match against Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

They clapped, they cheered, they whooped with delight before reaching for the beer once more.

Various suggestions have been made as to what the hill could be called now Henman has retired, including Murray Mound, Murray Mount and Murray Field, but the fondness for Tim lives on.

"Murray hasn't done enough for a name change. He needs to be a champion. Henman did an awful lot for British tennis," spectator Ursula Rowntree said.

Sitting at a picnic table enjoying the evening spectacle on the big screen, Hilary Vincent agreed.

"We called it Henman Hill when we came in tonight but I texted my husband to say we were on Murray Mount. But I still don't think we are ready for a change yet," she said.

Andrew Graham, a Scot like Murray, said: "It is still Henman Hill at the moment. If Andy won Wimbledon this year then it could change name."

Henman is currently working for BBC television, reliving in the commentary box all the pressure that Murray now has to carry on his young shoulders.

But there has been no sacrilegious talk of a name change for Henman Hill.

"We haven't mentioned it yet but Tim is definitely holding onto it," BBC presenter and former French Open winner Sue Barker said.