10 February 2014 16:26

Cypriot tennis hope Petros Chrysochos says he has nothing to fear as he heads to Wimbledon this summer hoping to better his last eight finish at the recent Australian Open Junior Championships.
The 17-year-old Herodotou Tennis Academy player has garnered much praise of late after impressing on the international stage with many tipping him to follow in the footsteps of Cyprus' big tennis name, Marcos Baghdatis.
"Judging from what I saw during the Australian Open, I have nothing to fear or be jealous of with regards to my opponents," he told the Cyprus Daily. "The only disadvantage, you might say, is the fact that I will be playing on grass - something that I will doing for the first time."
The Junior Championships of Wimbledon get underway on June 28 and finish on July 6. The fact that the highly-rated American Academy Larnaca pupil had managed to storm his way into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open means that he will bypass the qualifying round and move straight into the first round of the junior grand slam event.
"I will head out to London two weeks early just to try and get acclimatised to the grass surface of the court. Wimbledon won't be easy but I fancy my chance and I am hopeful I can do well there."
But before he graces the courts of Wimbledon - the tennis world's most prestigious event, Chrysochos will first fly out to Crete to take part in the $10,000 ITF Men's Circuit in Heraklion, Crete which begins on March 10.
All four of the grand slam tournaments (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open) host junior events alongside those for men and women. The grand slams are considered the most prestigious events on the junior circuit and, along with a further five Grade A events, are allocated the most ranking points. The first grand slam event of the year was won by Germany's Alexander Zverev in Australia.
"I feel confident with regards to my opponents. The only advantage I feel that they have is the fact that they enjoy more time on the courts than me. They may spend as much as 100 hours per week training whilst I only have around 50 hours. But despite that difference, I believe that I can still match them from a competitive point of view."
Chrysochos has every reason to feel confident following his impressive showing at the Australian Open last month. He started off with a first round elimination of South Korea's Chan-Yeong Oh [7-5, 7-6(3)] before then defeating Alex Molcan of Slovakia in three sets [6-7(3) 7-6 6-2].
Chryschosos revived memories of a young Baghdatis - who had reached the final of the senior grand slam event of the Australian Open back in 2006 - when he ousted home favourite Omar Jasika 7-6(6) 6-3 before finally running out of steam at the quarterfinal stage against France's Quentin Halys [3-6 4-6].
Despite his exit, the Larnaca teenager had done enough to make tennis pundits take notice of his talents.
"Last year, I had set a target with my coach to enter the top 70, something that I managed to achieve. Now that I am ranked 30th in the junior rankings, I am aiming to finish in the top ten by the end of the year. I feel that I am capable of doing that. I am feeling really good at the moment and I am playing my best tennis at the moment. It would be a great accomplishment to hit that target but it's going to be tough.
"Tennis needs a lot of dedication but I also spend a lot of time concentrating on my school work. My overall ambition is to one day break into the men's ATP top ten rankings"
Focusing on his tennis development remains a high priority for Chrysochos and his coach but like many Cypriot athletes, he is worried that obligatory national service on the island will bring his progress to a standstill.
"The army is something that is obviously a concern for me. Right now, I am still at school so it is not something that I am thinking about just yet. It is my hope that a solution is found because getting drafted at this point in my career could have a reverse effect on my development. I hope the state understand this and in the very least allow me to take a leave of absence."
He added, "Marcos Baghdatis had been granted special leave to focus on his career and I hope I can be looked upon through the same lens. I have already been contacted by several schools in the United States who are interested in taking me on."


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