EDWARDSVILLE – Petros Chrysochos, a native of Larnaca, Cyprus, won the Edwardsville Futures Presented by The EGHM Foundation singles championship over Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz., 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 on Sunday with another stellar performance.

Chrysochos first became interested in tennis at a young age, following the success of Marcos Baghdatis, who advanced to the final of the Australian Open in 2006 before losing to Roger Federer of Switzerland, one of the sport’s all-time greats, 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.

“Well, the number one reason was actually was Marcos Baghdatis,” Chrysochos said. “He started everything; he started my tennis career, basically, because I remember watching him in the finals of the Australian Open against Roger Federer in 2006, and basically, that was my motivation to start tennis, and not just me, but thousands of kids from Cyprus watched him play, and they wanted to play tennis as well. And I started when I was six, and when I was eight years old, and since then, everything’s been great.”

Chrysochos, a recent graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., enjoyed great success playing for the Demon Deacons, becoming a four-year All-American player, winning the 2018 NCAA singles championship, both first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference and academic all-ACC, and a 2019 semifinalist for the Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union for its best amateur athlete of the year. Chryschos felt his time at Wake was among the best of his life thus far.

“You know what, if I could give everything up to have one more year at Wake Forest, I would probably do it,” Chrysochos said with a smile. “Unfortunately, I can’t. I don’t know if my coach, Tony Bresky, is listening to me right now, but please, give me one more year of eligibility,” Chrysochos said with a laugh.

“It was probably the four most incredible years of my life,” Chrysochos continued, “and I’ve cherished so many memories with the boys and my teammates, and I miss them already. But I gotta do what I gotta do, and play professionally now, and see where that takes me.”

Chrysochos thought the atmosphere at the tournament was far different than in college, and in World Team Tennis, where he played for the Orange County Breakers this season.

“It’s nothing like college, it’s pretty actually boring, I have to admit,” Chrysochos said with another smile and laugh. “There are not really many people watching, and you know, if you ask referees or other players that have played college, they can tell you that the atmosphere is very different. I’m also coming from World Team Tennis, that I played that last week in Orange County, and the atmosphere there is so much different. They have music in between the points, and they have a DJ, and the crowd is rowdy, and yeah. But it’s a different environment, you know, you got to get used to this because nothing you can do. It’s not like you can play ATP before you play Futures; everybody started from the Futures level. So we gotta get through these, and hopefully, make the challengers by the end of the year.”

And once Chrysochos joins the ATP tour, he’s hoping to enjoy success in the Grand Slam tournaments as well.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve got to start from the bottom, just like everyone else,” Chrysochos said, “win some futures, and make it to the challengers, win some challengers, make it to the big leagues, and you know, that’s just how you make it. There’s no shortcut, unfortunately.”

And perhaps one day, Chrysochos may well become a national sporting hero in his native land, such as both Baghdatis in tennis and APOEL FC in soccer, a club that has played on the big stage in Europe as a quarterfinalist in the UEFA Champions League, the biggest club championship series in the world.

“Yeah, I mean, it would be great,’ Chrysochos said. “You know, now that Baghdatis has retired, we don’t really have many tennis players that actually tried to play professional, so I’ll try and do my best, first for me, then for my family, and then for everyone else who wants to play tennis and keeps going.”

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