I can go all the way, says Paris


Josh Paris enjoyed his first taste of Olympic competition where he rubbed shoulders with 3,000 elite teenagers from 48 European countries in Turkey this week.

A member of Team GB's 64-man squad, Paris, 15, was selected as one of only two boys in the GB's four-man tennis team at the 11th European Youth Olympics in Trazbon.

Having breezed through the first round of the Boys singles, Paris, carrying an ankle injury, was drawn against the No. 1 seed and went down 6-2, 6-2 in round two at the Bersli Tennis Complex. He also bowed out in the second round of the doubles.

"2011 has been a big step for me," said Paris. "I've been playing really well so far this year, so I'm feeling really good.

"The next couple of years are important for me in terms of my fitness, building up my power and strength," said Paris, who is looking to make the full GB Olympic squad in 2016.

The next couple of years are really important

Paris, of Highgate, first picked up a racquet at the age of five. He has made a rapid rise up the tennis ladder and has been in the top 10 for his age group for the past three years. He said: "I knew I was in the running with other kids in the country aged 12."

The teenage sensation was selected for the GB squad that recently attended the European Maccabi Games in Vienna but had to pull out to focus on the Youth Olympics. Ranked in the top 10 in Europe, he combines playing on the European circuit and AEGON men's tour in UK.

Coached by Damion Jackson and sponsored by tennis manufacturer Prince, Paris warmed-up for the Youth Olympics with a visit to Sanchez Castles in Spain.

He said: "My biggest tournaments to date have been the Junior Orange Bowl in America and Tarbes in France. Next year is the Youth Olympics, that's an Under 18 event so hopefully I'll be considered."

He also lifted Babolat Cup in Tallinn last year and having won several other European competitions, he recently starting playing on the ITF Junior circuit.

The indications are that Paris, who stands at a useful 6ft 1in, models himself on Roger Federer, can make it to the top. He said: "To travel the world to play in tournaments and visit amazing places for a living would be a dream come true.

"My friends and family have been very supportive. They think it's great I'm doing something I love. I also need to concentrate on my education which is very important."

During the week, Paris trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton and he is a member of David Lloyd Finchley. He maintains a strict training regime with a fitness trainer, and does yoga on a weekly basis.

"Tennis is all about coordination," he said. "There are things I have to focus on by myself, including stretching and fitness. I also do yoga. I feel the more I do now, the better I'll feel in the next few years.

"The most important years as a tennis players are between the ages of 18 and 19 results-wise. The average age of the world's top 100 is around 21.

"It's been a really good year so far and I've testing myself against older players. I'm looking to play at Junior Wimbledon in the next two years."

Paris is a member of the New London Synagogue. He studies at the Lycée Français in Kensington.

Father Mark, a former county tennis player, said: "I'm extremely proud that Josh has been selected to represent Great Britain. It's a wonderful opportunity for him in furthering his tennis career."

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