In-form Roddick makes the Davis Cup his top priority

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GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Sep 23 (Reuters) Andy Roddick said today his top priority for the remainder of 2007 would be the Davis Cup final against defending champions Russia.

The world number five has been in scintillating form this weekend during the semi-finals against Sweden, winning both his matches in straight sets without his serve being broken.

Four years after he won his only grand slam at the U.S Open, the American former world number now hopes he and team mates James Blake and twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan will end their country's 12-year dry spell in the world team tournament.

''I can assure you that my number one priority this year is this Davis Cup final,'' the American told reporters after his straight sets win over Jonas Bjorkman.

''If I don't win one more match this year but win the Davis Cup final, I would take it right now.'' In 1995, Pete Sampras anchored the US to their last Cup trophy when they beat hosts Russia.

''I can't really make that tie relevant because I was playing in the 14 and unders back then and that final was in Moscow,'' smiled Roddick, whose first taste of the Davis Cup came as a spectator when he witnessed the 1992 ''Dream Team'' of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and John McEnroe beat Switzerland at Fort Worth in 1992.

''I always had these four impossible dreams when I was a kid.

One was to win the US Open, second was being the world number one, third was to win Wimbledon, and fourth was to win the Davis Cup. I'm now in a good position to make it three out of four.'' Roddick had a shot at winning the Davis Cup back in 2004 when the US faced Spain in the final in Seville but they lost, on clay, with Roddick losing a singles battle against an emerging Rafael Nadal.

Last year, on the way to their win, Russia beat the US in the semi-finals in Moscow on clay, a surface that does not suit Roddick or his fellow top 10 team mate James Blake.

This time, as the hosts of the final, the U.S will get to pick the surface.

''I'm pretty sure I can promise you it will be on hard court,'' Roddick said. ''It's a pretty straightforward decision.'' REUTERS AB RK2236

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