Guest star – Henry Patten

Hello everyone. What a privilege it is to be writing for Harri’s blog. It’s my first time writing a blog post and I hope, if you guys approve, it won’t be my last guest appearance. I thought that I would write a little bit about myself, about mine and Harri’s partnership thus far, and finally, answer any questions that haven’t been covered in the above.

So, firstly, a bit about me. I just turned 28 years old. I grew up in a small town called Manningtree, about two hours east of London. My tennis career started when I was about 5 years old. I played plenty of other sports too, including football, golf, rugby, cricket (and others..!), but tennis was always the one that I enjoyed the most. It was also the one I was the best at. I only played once or twice a week between the ages of 11 and 16, which seems to be quite unusual for tennis players these days. I then won a small scholarship to train and study at Culford School, in the UK, before further pursuing my education and tennis at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, in the States.


I’d want to make it clear at this point, if you hadn’t already guessed, that it was never my intention to play professional tennis. I simply enjoyed the game and naturally, I am quite a competitive person having grown up with two brothers and a sister who all played tennis and were very sporty in their own right. At college, I developed quite quickly. I had never played so much tennis or spent so much time in the gym in my life. Quickly, I was playing at the top of the team in singles and doubles, and individually qualified for some of the biggest events in college tennis. Still, it was never my intention to play professionally.


Having graduated in 2019, I decided to further my studies at Durham University in the UK. Here we had a strong tennis team, including graduates of the US college system, and ex-professional players. They played some ITF tournaments during our time there, and I tagged along. This is when I first considered a career as a tennis player. 2022 was my breakout year on tour. Me and Julian Cash won 10 challengers in the space of 6 months. My singles career high at the start of this run was #462, however, it was clear to me then that I should specialise in doubles, having finished the year at #69 in the world.


On to me and Harri. It’s his blog after all.

It’s been quite a journey, and we’ve only played together for a couple of months. I think it was clear from the start, even before setting foot on the court, that we could have a good partnership on our hands; certainly though, the results from our first tournaments together surpassed everyone’s expectations. I think we play well together firstly because we have a very similar outlook on life, and on tennis. When these are aligned it makes everything run much smoother. Tennis is a game, there are many more important things in our lives. This being said, we both absolutely love competing, whether it’s against other teams or between ourselves! So, values aligned, we move on to tennis.

Harri found great success with Lloyd following the British system of doubles, and naturally, I learned this system with Julian. With that being said, we have quite different skill sets and energy which make me and Harri a good team. Harri moves around the court very well and is extremely active at the net. His returns are a particular strength, even on the Ad side which has been an adjustment for him. Usually, good returners will have weaknesses in their serve or when they are close to the net. With Harri, if he is serving well it’s fast and very accurate. When he isn’t serving well, he has the experience to manage it and outsmart opponents.

On to myself. Obviously, I am a big person and more of a “power player” than Harri in all respects. I like to hit returns hard and serve quite fast as well. My movement is always an area of improvement for me, but I can get away with this sometimes with my long reach. Like Harri, I enjoy being close to the net and like to think I have good feel for someone who likes to hit the ball hard…

Thus far we have made a good team simply because it’s hard to break both of us, and we are always a threat in return games. We can make opponents quite uncomfortable with this, even when losing. It also helps that we play the same system, so a lot of the time we know where the other is going to hit the ball, or what type of shot they will play, which in new partnerships is often missing. There is always a good feeling on court, and we allow each other to have fun when we play. Harri is more animated than me but sometimes he can get a bit too tense. I am more calm on the court, but sometimes I can be too relaxed. When we play together, we help each other find the right balance between tensity and relaxation.


Q&A

Thanks for all of the questions. I’ve done my best to answer them all either in the text above, or specifically below:

Music? Anything except country music and heavy metal. My favourite band is the Arctic Monkeys.

What have you brought to your game and what can you continue to improve on? A big improvement I’ve made is my consistency of performance. I think my best level is still similar to before, but my worst level is now much better. As I mentioned earlier, I think an area of improvement for me is my movement, particularly around the net, and reading the game, which comes with experience.

Why Harri? My answer to this question always is that Harri is a very good tennis player. He also has experience of being at the top of the game so I felt that I could learn a lot from him. Our results individually weren’t very good at the start of this year which was the catalyst for us teaming up. There are always other people to play with but for me, I couldn’t say no to Harri, and I think he was ready to take a chance on me.

How describe your previous partnerships? My main partnerships have been with Cash and then with Cabral. Cash is still one of my closest friends on tour, and we basically built our careers together. He is amazing at the net and has a huge serve, and plays the British system very well. With Cabral, we struggled. We got on great off the court, and both thought that our strengths and weaknesses would compliment each other nicely, but never managed to achieve results we were happy with. Sometimes that happens in doubles.

How would you describe your ideal partner? Finnish, and a little bit crazy.

How have you been able to manage Harri being a family man? Easy answer, I know that family comes first and it’s the same on my end. He can make his own choices and I know that he respects mine too. It’s been a pleasure to be able to meet his family.

How do you feel playing other Brits playing “the system”? It’s always quite interesting when this happens and you have two choices. Either you try and play the system better than them, or try to catch them off-guard with variation and predicting what they will do. In my experience whoever plays the system better usually comes out on top.

Interests/hobbies? I do love to play chess, not that I’m particularly good at it, but it helps to keep the mind active during long days. I enjoy playing all sports, my favourites (other than tennis) are Golf and Padel.

Challenges of being a young player? The challenge that always springs to mind is the financial one. Of course, the last few months with Harri have eased that somewhat, however, the expenses are always high and form can waver, so it’s always in the back of your mind. Of course, being away from my girlfriend for long periods is the biggest challenge I face daily. Fortunately, she is incredibly supportive and extremely accomplished in her own right, of which I am very proud.

Football team? Ipswich Town. We have been promoted in back-to-back years and next year will be playing in the Premier League. I grew up about 20 minutes from their ground.

Special rituals? None, just a good warmup. Superstitions are a slippery slope…

Mixed doubles? Hopefully, I will be able to play in my first Mixed tournament at Wimbledon this year with Olivia Nicholls, although we will need a wildcard to get in. Fingers crossed!

Have you played against Harri before? Yes. I have practiced against him and Lloyd lots of times, and we played one match against each other in Adelaide at the start of this year. The latter didn’t end well for me.

Henry and Harri’s big goal? I’m not sure. I’m not much of a goal-setter myself. We just want to do as well as possible and reach our potential as players and as a team. The results will take care of themselves.

How much do you value chemistry off the court? I think every team finds the right balance for them. On court, chemistry is the most important thing, but luckily for me and Harri, we get along very well off the court too. There are times when we have to give each other space, but equally, it’s nice to explore a new city and get some good food with a friend. This kind of camaraderie eases the burden of being away from family and home for periods and makes a partnership more sustainable.

Who would be the ideal partner other than Harri? Do I have to answer this on Harri’s blog? Someone like Neal Skupski, or Lloyd would be easy choices because I know them well and they are Brits too.

What’s your knowledge of Finland? Non-existent. I’ve never been but wish to visit soon. Harri told me not to bother trying to learn any Finnish, but I’ve picked up on a couple of non-PG phrases…

Are you from a family of tennis players? No, neither of my parents played tennis. My siblings all did because there are lots of small tennis clubs close to where I grew up. My brother works in the tennis industry for Hawkeye.


How open are you and Harri to feedback? I think that this is something we both take pride in, giving honest reflections and feedback is crucial to grow as a team. It has been made easier by good results, but I’m not worried about needing to have tough conversations after difficult losses.

Could you see yourself playing on the Ad? I play on the deuce because, as a left-hander, it places my forehand in the middle of the court. My forehand is a stronger shot than my backhand, so simply it means I hit more forehands than backhands in a match because it’s riskier for opponents to hit closer to the lines. I think I’ll forever be a deuce court player.

Tennis set up in Great Britain? The National Tennis Centre (NTC) is in Roehampton, in London. This is where the vast majority of British players play and train. There is some University tennis in Britain, but it is nowhere near as strong or vast as it is in the US, so lots of players take scholarships over there. At the NTC we are lucky to have analysts and software that collects data and replays from various matches, for us to access through an online platform. This is becoming more common in tennis and is useful in doubles where the margins are so small. Louis Cayer is the lead coach and mind behind many of these programs for the doubles players. There are hard, grass and clay courts to train on. And indoor hard and clay too. The facilities are excellent. I think part of why Harri chose to play with me was to gain access to the facilities himself!!

Are you planning on starting your own blog? No, this has taken way too long. I think guest appearances would be perfect, and will make Harri’s blog much more entertaining.

Did you ask Lloyd about Harri? Yes, but I never pay much attention to what Lloyd has to say.

Where do you like to go on vacation? Now as a tennis player, my weeks off are usually spent with my girlfriend Ellie. We just started renting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she will begin work as a doctor in a hospital. So that’s where I’ll be going!

What’s the plan now that Harri is injured? I am playing this week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch with Ivan Dodig, which I am looking forward to. I know Harri will be jealous of some grass-court tennis!

Have you worn kit that hasn’t been washed? Of course. But I try to avoid it.

Do you know what backgammon means when you translate Harri’s blog? No, absolutely no idea. The Google translations never fail to entertain. Hopefully Harri uploads this in English and you can have some fun reading the translation to Finnish.

What would you do if you weren’t a tennis player? I’m not sure! My degree is in Economics, so perhaps something in the finance world. But with any luck, I won’t have to think about that for a while.

Thank you all very much for reading, and let’s hope for Harri’s swift return!

34 thoughts on “Guest star – Henry Patten

  • Henry, thanks for your blog post. You tell a lot about yourself and something about the possible future.
    I write in Finnish myself on Google, so I hope the translation is understandable. You can also laugh if it goes beyond understanding.

    It’s great that you have become friends with Harri. In my opinion, that shows well on the playing field. Even better than it was with Lloyd. Understandable, because we are all our own personalities. Mutual personal chemistry is different.

    Henry, you are a great person which shows in your writing and behavior on the field. It’s a pleasure to watch your game. It is a similar pleasure to read the writings of both, so thank you for the next one.

    Oh and finally; good luck for next week’s games with Dodig!!
    Hopefully Harri will return to the playing fields in a couple of weeks at the latest.

  • Wow, this was a pleasant surprise! Thank you Henry for taking your time to write the above! Now I know you & your family thoroughly 🙂 and now you belong also to the Harri & Fans family 🙂 I’ve written earlier that you & Harri look like brothers, and I love your brotherly hugs after the game. You are similar enough & and different enough to make a good team. You seem to be a straightforward person, however some glimpses of a good sense of humor are hidden between the lines. I like especially this: ”….I’m not much of a goal-setter myself. We just want to do as well as possible and reach our potential as players and as a team. The results will take care of themselves….” One game at a time takes you forward to the next game. Keep enjoying all the games and I hope you both will stay healthy & wealthy & wise 🙂

  • Totally approved!

    You and Harri seems to be the perfect match. It has been seen on court, but it looks like you match also off court. This has been start of a very epic story and we are only at begginning. You will achieve many great things.

    As Harri’s fans we always liked Lloyd, but we already love you. After two months you take your time and wrote your own text here. That shows commitment!

    Thank you for the text and thank you for playing with Harri. It make us very happy! Have a great grass season.

  • Many thanks for an insightful post Henry, much appreciated and hopefully we will get to read these guest posts every now and then!

    All the best to you and Harri as a team and of course to you during Harri’s absence from the match courts. 💪

  • We are overwhelmed! Thank you!

    For some reason I thought that London town is that near canal so two hours towards East would result in the middle of France.

    Usually Finns read english text easily, no need for any babelfish. Do not worry how google would strech your thoughts.

    Did you realize that your answers can result double more questions? For example, why are you not listening what Lloyd says? Unreliable? Joking too much? Or just Birmingham?

  • Thank you so much, Henry ! Just one question: As your brother works for Hawkeye, can you or him answer the question after Roland Garros final: Why do they not use hawkeye over there ? Clearly some players (like Zverev) were super unhappy to lose a break because of the interpretation of the umpire. Or will it be mandatory next year ?

    • A pleasure. Hawkeye is quite expensive and for the clay court tournaments it is not mandatory. I agree it’s crazy, especially with how much money Roland Garros makes each year. However it was announced just before the tournament that they didn’t even pay to have let calling machines this year…so who knows.

      • That reminds me of Tsitsipas shouting ”cheapskates”, a video watchable on youtube, when he realized that he cannot challenge the point in a Masters 1000 tournament, because of the lacking hawk eye system. 🙂

  • Thank you Henry for your post here in Harri’s blog. It was an interesting read.

    You and Harri make a good team which also the results so far show. Hopefully Harri will be back soon and you will continue on grass.

    I hope you will do well while waiting for Harri’s return. Please do write again here.

  • Thank you Henry for an interesting insight of you as a tennis player and a person! Lloyd played some Finnish tennis league for our local club SATA around Christmas time. Are you planning to do the same and come to Laajasalo? 😉

    • Harri did mention this to me. While I would love to play, it looks like this year I’m more likely to be in the States over the Christmas period. Hopefully we can schedule for me to come over to Finland another time! 🤞🏻

  • Thank You, Henry, for an interesting blog post. It’s nice to learn your background and hobbies.
    You’ve really made it in a short period of time to the top of doubles; Congrats.
    Keep the good thing going and the best of luck to You in the coming tournaments.
    …btw. Harri is an engineer as You probably know, and that’s about the dry sense of humour. 🙂👍

    • Thanks for reading! There’s still a way to go to the top, but if we continue our form and get Harri back healthy, anything is possible 🙂

  • Hello Henry, thank you for writing this introductory piece, we are so glad to get to know you better! Speaking of which, how’s Baloo doing?
    – Does he like traveling as you frequently do (or minimum, play in his neighborhood), or is he a homebody?
    – When you are playing tennis for months at a time, who takes care of the cats? How do they feel when they see you again after months? How often do you spend time with your cats?

    We have a small group chat of British tennis fans (even though we come from different parts of the globe), where we actually send cat pictures or cat contents every Caturday (yes, Saturday for cats!) or in significant moments when a Brit is playing because Caturday luck knows no boundaries, hopefully, thanks to you adopting Baloo since the OP Catten (= you playing with Julian) days!

    • A fellow cat lover I see!

      Baloo is a house cat – unfortunately he loves catching small animals so it’s best he stays inside…! Usually my girlfriend, Ellie, looks after Baloo. She has been travelling with me until recently so he has been lucky enough to stay at her parents house with their cat, Dobby, and dog Hazel, which he has loved.

  • Thank you very much Henry for a good post! ”The Google translations never fail to entertain”, true, Firefox browser translate is even more entertaining 😉 This example translation is about Harri maybe getting in to the Olympic games:
    ”Then when you go to the next category of forking pairs of four-legged pairs of fours, considering that you’ve been ahead of you are countries like Monaco and El Salvador, real terms, you could still be in quotas, especially when the two pairs/country rule starts to kick out the pair of kicking the kicking of a truck kicking kick kick-off pairs.”

    • Thanks for reading, usually I can work out what the translation means, but occasionally I have to ask Harri for clarification 😅

  • Hi Henry and big thanks, it was a pleasure to read your blog post. And good luck for the whole grass season and also ‘s-Hertogenbosch this week! If you make your way to Saturday there will be your two new Finnish friends, enjoying live grass tennis for the very first time, cheering you to the trophy!

  • Henry, thanks so much for the guest post! Fun to read about your background and thoughts on what matters in life. I have been able to watch you and Harri play on tv just a few times but what struck me maybe most, were your quick reflexes at the net .. as you say, you’re a big guy who likes to hit the ball with power so one would forgive if quickness and softness were not in the skill set. I was super surprised to read that you really had no intentions of becoming professional player until just couple years ago! You mentioned that you and Cash ”built your careers together”. I am curious if this means that he also stumbled upon ”the career of tennis” like you, or was his more thought out from earlier in his life? Lastly, I had to chuckle when reading that Harri told you not to bother with learning any Finnish .. an honest man 🙂
    Good luck to your upcoming matches! Looking very much forward to cheering for you and Harri in months to come!

    • Thank you!
      I can’t speak for Julian, but he was a much better junior player than me, so I think turning pro was always on his radar.

  • Had to translate from Finnish to English to find out what does the ”backgammon” means. 🙂
    It was mentioned at least on this blog post: https://www.harriheliovaara.fi/2024/05/25/lyon-atp250-finaali-heliovaara-patten-bhambri-olivetti-3-6-7-64-10-8-teksti-paivittyy-myohemmin/
    ”The doubles charts for Roland Garros are made on Sunday, and the games for backgammon start on Tuesday or Wednesday”. The word in Finnish seems to be ”neluri” that is a shorten word of ”nelinpeli” = doubles.

  • Thank you Henry for contributing so comprehensively to Harri’s blog. 👊 I think you’re only the second guest after Harri’s coach Boris and it’s in English which is a welcome bonus. I thought Harri might insist on translating it so that ‘backgammon’ appears. 😏 I think his blog is unique in tennis and gives such insight. His dedication in maintaining it and responding to replies is admirable. 😎

    Good luck this week playing with Dodig. Maybe he’ll let you use his special hand cream he applies at changeovers. 💅😁

    Look forward to you and Harri being back on court together. 💥

  • Thank you, Henry, for opening up about yourself and your family.
    It’s interesting how you became a tennis doubles professional and partnered with Harry.

    As soon as I heard the news that you and Harri were starting together as a team, and after watching a few of your matches, I thought that you and your style of play could suit each other.
    And yes, we were able to see great results right from the start. Congrats!!!

    I feel you will rise to the TOP 10 faster than anyone dared to expect — your characteristics, playing style, and knowledge of the British playbook support each other.
    Your relaxed and focused way of working makes you a hard pair to beat.
    You’re not afraid to take risks; you don’t give up and survive challenging situations as a winning team.
    These are unique qualities that not everyone has. 👍👍👍
    You know you have them. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    Good luck for the next tournament and a long career together!!! 💪💪💪

  • Hi Henry!

    Thank’s for writing to us and opening Your person and history in this super interesting post.
    I did not know anything about You before You started to play with Harri.
    I am really glad that You play as pair together now. Amazing quality and teamwork.

    I have read Harri’s blog from the beginning of his first career. So already about smthg15 years.
    I will keep my writing short because my English stays still at backgammon level.

    I hope for You both veryvery lucky career together.
    There is lot of open room at the top of doubles rankinglist.

    Fullahead !!!

    • Taisi olla ATP:n moka, että jäätiin kummittelemaan Hallen listalle. Henry pelaa repairilla Queen’s Clubilla, Harri toivottavasti Easbournessa taas mukana.

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