ALEXIS Canter is looking forward to a future in the men’s game after giving a good account of himself at his last Junior Wimbledon.

The Long Wittenham teenager tested No 1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a 7-6, 7-5 defeat in the first round of the boys’ singles on Monday.

Despite an early exit at the All-England Club, Canter feels optimistic for life on the men’s tour next year.

The positive mindset stems from a battling performance against Tsitsipas, who is ranked 358th on the ATP World Tour and has three ITF Futures titles to his name this year.

When asked about his final match as a junior at SW19, the 18-year-old said: “It is all about getting the experience of playing on the big stage and it prepares you for the future really well.

“To play against a boy of his level and to be challenging him game for game, shot for shot, is very encouraging.”

Canter did not face a break point until the first game of the second set, saving two in total with aces, before he was broken in the 11th game as Tsitsipas went on to serve out the match.

The Oxfordshire No 1 also held serve on four occasions from 15-30 down.

He said: “I’m very pleased, because when you play the better boys, if they go up in a game they normally up their game too.

“For me to up my game and take it away from them is very encouraging.”

At the start of the year, Canter had targeted playing in men’s tournaments during the second half of the season to prepare for 2017.

But at 61 in the ITF Juniors rankings he still has work to do to climb inside the top 40 and make sure of direct qualification for the boys’ singles at the US Open in September.

It leaves Canter in a dilemma over what to prioritise over the coming months.

“I have not spoken to my coach (father, Robin) about it yet,” he said.

“There are two options.

“Either I go to Asia for a Grade 1 juniors to try and get my ranking up for the US Open or I just decide to focus on men’s and go to Futures events to try and start on the ATP.”

TOM Astle and AK Israelev fought back from a set down to claim the win Oxford Sports needed in the AEGON Team Tennis regional play-offs.

After leading 6-2 following the singles, Oxford lost the first doubles match with opponents Riverside, from Wiltshire.

But Astle and Israelev responded after a slow start and won their clash on a tie-break in the third set.

The 8-4 win sent Oxford into the next round, against Cirencester, where victory would see them promoted to join North Oxford in the South West E Regional division.

l VIRGIN Active ladies whitewashed Woodstock 8-0 at home to move top of Division 1 in the Oxfordshire Babolat Summer League.

They leapfrogged North Oxford, who they meet in two weeks for a title showdown.

l OXFORDSHIRE’S largest tournament, the Penny & Sinclair Tennis Championships, starts at Virgin Active Oxford tomorrow.

Organisers are reporting an increase in participants from last year, with Connor Ferguson expected to lead the local charge in the 16U event.