| Roddick feels he has made big strides this year
Paris: Andy Roddick resumes his battle to snatch the world No. 1 spot here on Thursday admitting that the honour of pipping rival Juan Carlos Ferrero to the prize has given him a new appetite for the closing weeks of the season.
“If you gave me the option, say, of winning two Grand Slams and finishing number three in the year then I’d probably take that over winning none, winning a bunch of Masters Series events and finishing number one,” said the American.
“But now I have the opportunity to be greedy here. I would love to finish number one, there’s no doubt about it. But if I don’t, it doesn’t mean my year has been a failure. I have made a lot of strides this year.”
The 21-year-old Roddick has helped himself to six titles this year including his Grand Slam breakthrough at the US Open and Masters crowns at Montreal and Cincinnati. All have pushed him into the number two spot in the world, just behind French Open winner Ferrero and ahead of Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.
Only the Paris Masters this week and the season-ending Masters Cup in Houston next month remain for the brash American to dislodge the Spaniard from the top. “In the last couple of years I didn’t really have too much to play for apart from pride. I was never in serious contention for the Masters Cup so you lose and you’re upset but then you figure you are going home and you are starting your vacation.”
Roddick’s mind appeared to already be on holiday in a clumsy opening match here at the Euro 2.45 million event when he toiled to beat Romanian qualifier Victor Hanescu 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4).
“I’m in the hunt and every match I win could be the match that wins or loses me the top spot. I am motivated but maybe I am pushing too hard,” admitted Roddick after a less-than-convincing outing.
“I didn’t deserve to be in the first set tie-breaker and I gave him a gift of the first game of the match, double-faulted and two missed forehands. But I scrapped and clawed and tried to stick around and got a little lucky,” said Roddick whose next opponent is tricky Spaniard Tommy Robredo.
“Tommy’s a great competitor. He always goes out there and he will fight you to the last ball. He doesn’t beat himself. He’s grown up as a player this year. He has developed a pretty big forehand. I am going to have to play a lot better if I want to get through to the next round.”