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Opinion

Tiger Tim’s growl keeps Paribas at bay

BNP Paribas has long been a staunch supporter of tennis and is firmly connected with the French Open championships at Roland Garros in Paris. But the surprising success of Tim Henman this year will surely have raised Gallic eyebrows.

The tournament has just witnessed a great rarity ? a British player in the closing stages. Henman normally reserves his best performances for Wimbledon but he has become the first Brit to get to a semi-final in Paris since 1963.

As Euromoney went to press, Henman faced likely defeat by Argentine third seed Guillermo Coria. But he was still hoping to rewrite history by becoming the first British man to reach the final since Bunny Austin in 1937. Could he go even further and become the first to win since Fred Perry in 1935?

Henman even snubbed French hospitality along the way by knocking out two home-grown players, Cyril Saulnier and Michael Llodra. In doing so he was helping to add to France?s own increasingly unhappy tennis statistic.

Despite Paribas? support of French tennis ? it sponsors 400 regional tournaments ? there has not been a French champion of the Open since Yannick Noah won in 1983. 

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