Photo: Corinne DubreuilPetros Chrysochos (CYP)
Petros Chrysochos already knows what it means to play for his country on the global stage.
The 18-year-old has represented Cyprus in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2013, impressively winning three of the eight senior matches he has contested, but the teenager faces an altogether new and exciting challenge in country colours next month.
Chrysochos will compete on the biggest stage he has encountered yet when he takes part in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games on 17-24 August, albeit if his inclusion in the second event of its kind came as a bit of a shock.
“I was actually surprised that I was elected in the team,” admitted Chrysochos. “When I saw the names in the acceptance list for the tennis event I saw that some big names are going to the tournament - I was really surprised and honoured to be in this list with these players.”
Chrysochos certainly merits his place in Nanjing. The junior world No. 20 won the Junior Grade 1 title at the 50th Astrid Bowl Charleroi in May and went on to reach the semifinals in the boys’ doubles event at Wimbledon alongside Croatia’s Nino Serdarusic in July.
With Nanjing now firmly on the horizon, the Larnaca-born right-hander has targeted the Youth Olympic Games as an opportunity he is determined to grab with both hands.
“It’s something different,” said Chrysochos of the event. “It reminds me of Davis Cup where you don’t have to play as an individual, you play as your country. If I get a medal, a gold or bronze or second place, anything, it’s good for me and it’s good for my country.
“Just taking part in this event is a big deal for me so I’m really pleased that I’m going to play.”
As for his nation’s hopes of taking home a medal, Chrysochos insists that, though a small country, Cyprus can still pack a punch.
“We’re not like USA, or Germany,” he said. “We are actually from one of the smallest countries so less athletes are going [to Nanjing] but we have a good chance of doing something in several sports - Taekwando, Judo, Tennis , maybe swimming, why not! I hope we do good in every sport.
“I will do my best and hope to get a medal for my country.”
Whether he achieves a medal or not, Chrysochos is most looking forward to embracing the Olympic spirit, not to mention rubbing shoulders with fellow athletes from all over the world.
“I’m so excited about that,” he said. “All the players are going to be around my age. We’re going to make friends, talk to each other, see everyone from all over the world, in every sport, so I’m really excited.
“And the level [of competition] is going to be good, I mean, the best - it’s the Olympics!”