Alexei Popyrin of Australia in action against Nicola Kuhn in the French Open final.
Alexei Popyrin of Australia in action against Nicola Kuhn in the French Open final. CAROLINE BLUMBERG

No more junior tournaments for Aussie teen star

LITTLE more than a week after lifting the world's most prestigious junior crown, Alexei Popyrin has played his last juvenile tournament.

The first Australian male in 49 years to snare the French Open juniors behind Phil Dent, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall and Roy Emerson, Popyrin is anxious to test his game "in the pros.”

The 17-year-old has been given a huge rating by Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou - and the former Sydneysider is anxious to bear out the optimism.

"I just want to keep working, to keep on improving and eventually one day hopefully I can win a grand slam,” Popyrin said from the family's Marbella home.

"I'd like to get to No 1 in the world, win grand slams and win Davis Cup for Australia.”

Popyrin received congratulatory texts from Lleyton Hewitt and Jason Stoltenberg, sign the raw-boned baseliner is on the the Davis Cup radar.

Popyrin is keen to be "orange boy” for Australia's semi-final against Belgium in September.

"I love Davis Cup and I've always wanted to play for Australia,” he said.

"It's something I've thought about for a long time.”

After flying out of Paris, Popyrin spent two days driving from Nice to Marbella reconciling his fabulous win over Spain's Nicola Kuhn in the boy's final.

"It's only just starting to sink in now,” he said.

"I've started working again now and I just want to keep working..

"I'm not sure what I'll play yet, whether its a Futures tournament or a Challenger.”

Handled by International Management Group, Popyrin is sure to receive wildcard invitations given his surging status.

Born in Sydney to Russian immigrants Alex and Elena, Popyrin moved to Dubai when he was seven.

After two years there, the family relocated to Alicante - where Alex de Minaur was a neighbour.

Popyrin speaks fluent Spanish, understands Russian but still has an unmistakeable Australian twang.

He confirmed reports his younger brother Anthony might be even better in another boost for future Australian Cup teams.

"I think he probably is,” Popyrin said. "He's a bit stockier than I am, but he's a good player.”



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