UnNews:Catcher in the Rye author believed he was Tim Henman
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28 January 2011
The author of books like Catcher in the Rye (and..er..the rest..) was convinced he was the tennis player Tim Henman after watching him on television. Salinger wrote a friend in these letters saying '..I become more British everyday..' and started to imitate Henman's tennis-playing style. In a process known as complete personality osmosis, so far had Salinger got to believe he was Henman that he applied to play at Wimbledon in 1996. It is believed Salinger's disguise was only revealed when he signed a tennis racquet for a fan and wrote Bugger off: I am JD Slazenger..sorry...Tim Henman... The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club who run the Wimbledon tennis tournament then banned Salinger for life and had him deported back to the USA.
Why Salinger chose to impersonate Tim Henman rather than any American tennis players is said to have been down to the fact that he loved losers. And Henman was a classic English loser, never winning any of the classic Grand Slam titles in a career that ended bitterly in third-rate hair shampoo products and other commercial insults. It seems Salinger really identified with Henman's lack of success and adopted it for himself.
Before he tipped over the sanity ledge, Salinger had written in these letters that Henman looked like him in his younger days. The same eyes and slick black hair and the fear of success too. Salinger therefore reasoned that why Henman never got to win a final was because he could have but didn't want to. This was the quality that had so impressed Salinger, a writer who was adverse to publicity and refused to go on television to flog any of his books..or rather book as he only wrote one.
So far Tim Henman has declined to officially comment on this story, though a close friend who looks just like him did say the 1996 incident 'explained a lot of funny looks' he got that year.