OXFORDSHIRE ace Alexis Canter is confident of shaking off an ankle injury as he begins his bid to qualify for the junior French Open today.

The Long Wittenham teenager is aiming to make the main draw, which begins on Sunday at Roland Garros, for the first time.

But he heads into the qualifying tournament at the Parisian suburb of Montrouge, where he faces Hugo Gaston in the first round, having turned his ankle on Monday.

Canter suffered the injury in practise, but went on to play at this week’s Belgian International Junior Championships in Charleroi-Marcinelle.

The 17-year-old was beaten 6-3, 6-0 by Belgian Seppe Cuypers in the first round of the singles.

But he made the quarter-finals of the doubles with Tim Ruehl, of Germany, where he was just one win away from earning an exemption into the main draw of the French Open, due to the fact he would have missed qualifying.

Canter – ranked 58 on the ITF Juniors circuit – is optimistic his ankle will be fine as he bids to win two matches and become one of eight players to qualify.

“I have been moving fine generally on clay, but on Tuesday (against Cuypers), pushing out to forehand returns and moving out to backhands was tough on a swollen ankle,” he said.

“That’s not an excuse though, he did play better than me.

“It was sore during the doubles, but you don’t move as much and I got through it.

“Hopefully it will recover and it should be fine for the French Open.

“I just need to keep doing rehab and icing it.”

Canter, who spent a fortnight practising on clay with Rafael Nadal’s part-time coach, Francisco Roig, in Spain last month, has played five tournaments on the dirt this year.

While he admits it is not his favourite surface, the British junior No 3 is heading to Paris in a buoyant mood.

He added: “It would be an amazing experience to play at Roland Garros, to compete there would be fantastic.

“But if I get there I would be looking to do well in the tournament as well.”

Canter is also hoping to sign up for the doubles, with fellow Briton Alastair Gray.

They have played once together this year, making the semi-finals at a Grade 1 tournament in Costa Rica in January.