Former British Tennis Number 1 Tim Henman has admitted using Ovaltine during his playing days. Speaking in a press conference yesterday, Henman admitted to using the warm, chocolately, cocoa-based drink, but denied that his use of the substance had become ‘habitual’.
“I know it’s easy to judge me, but I’m human just like anybody else,” a visibly emotional Henman said. “It was the mid 1990s – I forget the exact year…they all seem the same these days – that’s how Ovaltine messes you up.
“Anyway, there were some pretty wild parties at Wimbledon in those days,” Henman continued. “As I recall, I’d just been dumped out in the 2nd round by a young, 17 year-old unseeded upstart from Tajikstan, and the guys threw a party for me. Man, it was wild.
“I don’t remember a lot about the party – just that there was a clown, cake, some He-Man videos, lots of chocolate, and more orange squash than I knew what to do with. It must have been 7.30pm by the time I got out of there – way past my bed time.”
Henman went on to relay how he had found a sachet of Ovaltine in his hotel room and had used it after all his usual attempts to get to sleep – counting the number of double faults in his last game, and competitions he hadn’t won – had failed.
“It was just so chocolately – I dropped straight off,” said Henman. “From that moment, I knew that Ovaltine was the answer to my occasional failure to sleep. The worst part of it was that the first sachet was free – but as with all drugs, they jacked up the price after that.”
The news comes in the same week as iconic American Tennis great Andre Agassi’s shock announcement that he used Crystal Meth in his own playing days, a decision that resulted in him dropping to number 141 in the world.
Adam Helfant, Chairman of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said: “Obviously we take substance abuse amongst players, past or present very seriously. We understand that Ovaltine has a rich, creamy chocolately aroma which can soothe away the troubles of your day and relax you into a deep, trouble-free sleep – but we still don’t condone its use in any way, shape or form.”
Asked to comment on Henman’s plight, Agassi would only remark: “Ovaltine? You mean hot chocolate? Tell that limey sunnavabitch to grow a pair.”