ALEXIS Canter has become accustomed to the grind of the lower levels of the men’s game and says it makes him hungrier to climb the sport’s rankings.

The 19-year-old, from Long Wittenham, has been full-time on the ITF Pro Circuit – two tiers below the ATP World Tour – for just under a year.

It is a far cry from the glamour of the All England Lawn Tennis Club where Andy Murray begins the defence of his Wimbledon crown on Monday.

Canter, who played at SW19 as a junior in 2015 and 2016, is still waiting for a first Futures title.

But with a world ranking of 1,448, Oxfordshire’s No1 is often forced to qualify for the majority of tournaments he enters.

The teenager has not failed to reach a main draw since February, however two wins are often needed just to make the first round.

Canter, who has been working under David Sammel at Bath University since Wimbledon last year, remains upbeat.

He said: “I’ve accepted that’s how it’s going to be to begin with.

“As long as each week I’m improving aspects of my game it will only be a matter of time and I will start getting results.

“It was the same starting in juniors. It took a while, about a year until I made headway.”

Although the records show first-round defeats, Canter has been encouraged by his recent performances.

He lost in two tight sets to world No 623 Markos Kalovelonis in Uzbekistan, before similar results against Viktor Durasovic and Jose Fco. Vidal Azorin, who are both ranked inside the top 700, in Nigeria.

Canter said: “Not being seeded for tournaments, the draw is much harder.

“But I’ve been enjoying it and in the last few tournaments I’ve been getting really close and playing great against guys ranked higher than me.

“I’m taking a lot of confidence from that.”

Canter’s ranking was not high enough for last week’s LTA Wimbledon Wild Card Play-Offs where 16 British players vie for two spots into qualifying for the All England Championships.

He entered the Aegon British Tour event at North Oxford earlier this month, where the winner clinched a wild card into the event, but lost to eventual champion and world No 354 Edward Corrie in the second round.

As a result, Canter has turned his attention back to the hard courts and been battling for ranking points in Guam and Hong Kong, where he lost in the first round of both.

Life on the ITF Pro Circuit is in no way comparable to that of the ATP World Tour.

Notably, players call their own lines, with umpires only used in the latter stages.

But Canter insists it makes him hungrier to succeed.

He said: “It’s extremely tough because I’ve noticed most tournaments are in places that are not particularly nice, not good hotels, not great food.

“It’s very tough mentally more than anything else to just realise that this is the job.

“It’s good that it’s not as glamorous because you have that motivation to really work hard to get yourself up the rankings as quickly as possible.”