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Shot in the arm for Henman

Paris: Britain’s Tim Henman believes his Paris Masters victory here on Sunday will launch him onto greater success in 2004.

“I don’t want this week to be an exception. I think my level of play has been very, very high but I think I can play like this more often,” said Henman after his 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-2) victory against Romania’s Andrei Pavel had given him his first Masters triumph at the 64th attempt.

“If I have the right attitude and go out and play in the right fashion, the right style and I lose, then I don’t have any complaints. But I feel as if I should be playing like this more often.”

Henman, whose season was hampered as he battled to recover from shoulder surgery, won his second title of the year on Sunday and the 11th of his career. But it was the manner of his performances which gave him great satisfaction.

En route to the title, Henman beat world No. 1 Andy Roddick, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, triple French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten as well as Sebastien Grosjean, who defeated him at Wimbledon this year.

“To beat players of that calibre speaks for itself,” said Henman whose ranking should now reach 14 in the world.

“Now my challenge is to do it more often. It’s not going to be easy. I want to try and get off to a good start next year because I have missed so many opportunities. To finish the year on such a positive and suddenly my ranking has gone from 40 to 14 in a month, it’s very, very motivating. But to win a Masters event is really exciting and I’m very keen to build on it next year.”

Henman has achieved his latest title without the services of a coach having split from Larry Stefanki earlier this year. “I would give him a lot of credit for this win because he’s helped my game and put a lot of pieces in place.

“But we both felt that the pieces were in place and it was up to me to go out there and complete the puzzle and it hasn’t been completed because there’s so much more to achieve. But I do like the fact that when I am on the court I am the one taking responsibility.

“It’s been a great week. I feel like I am moving in the right direction,” Henman said. (AFP)

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