The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No. 1 Roddick predicts new golden era

Paris: Andy Roddick celebrated becoming the second youngest player ever to become No. 1 in the world by predicting a new golden age for tennis which will wipe out the bitter taste left by financial troubles and allegations of match-fixing in the sport.

Roddick believes that the golden trio of himself, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roger Federer are about to put the sport into the headlines for all the right reasons. At 21 years and two months, Roddick is the same age as Bjorn Borg when the legendary Swede hit the top spot in 1977 and just a little older than countryman McEnroe who was 21 years and 15 days when he made it to the top.

Roddick clinched top spot at the Paris Masters on Thursday when his victory against Tommy Robredo knocked previous holder Ferrero off the peak following the Spaniard’s unexpected defeat to Jiri Novak. But that’s already in the past for the American whose US Open crown was one of six titles gathered in 2003.

“The race for the No. 1 spot gives something positive to look at and that’s what I choose to look at,” said Roddick, the 22nd man and sixth from his country to boast No. 1 honours. “The fact is that there are a hell of a lot of guys out there who give their heart and soul every time they go out on the court. They are clean and play by the rules. It would be cool if a lot more was focused on that.”

Roddick has battled French Open winner Ferrero and Wimbledon champion Federer for most of the season. And with the Masters Cup still to play in Houston in November, his place at No. 1 as well as top man in the Champions Race could change again.

“It’s exciting for me and for tennis in general to have that last shoot-out at the end of the season,” said Roddick. “Also look at the top 100 and see how many players are under 23 and younger, it will shock you.

“I think that with the way it’s happened with Juan Carlos winning on clay, Roger winning on grass and me at the US Open, it’s almost been scripted. It’s almost a fairytale year for us — but only one of us gets to finish on the fairytale. “People were always saying about us three: ‘When is it going to happen' Why, why, why.’ It’s a big relief now and I think all of our best tennis is still ahead of us.”

Pavel in semis

Unseeded Andrei Pavel of Romania, rediscovering his form after a lengthy injury break, reached the semi-finals of the Paris Masters when he beat fifth seed Rainer Schuettler 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Friday. (AFP)

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