One of the best junior players in the history of tennis (World No. 1, made the finals at all four Grand Slams in 2012, winning Wimbledon and the US Open), Filip Peliwo is still aiming to be at the top echelon of the game. The 28-year-old is playing his second Challenger since the pandemic in Poznań this week. On Sunday, he defeated Viktor Durasovic 6-3 4-6 6-3 to advance to the final qualifying round. Peliwo used to represent Canada, but he chose to play for Poland from this year onwards. His parents were both Polish, but emigrated before he was born. Peliwo is bilingual, fluent in both Polish and English.
“It started with my parents moving back a few years ago to take care of my grandpa, he’s 98. (…) With covid last year, it didn’t make sense to go back to Canada. There was no training there, everything was locked down. No tournaments in North America at all, everything was in Europe, so I based myself out of Poland.” said Peliwo, asked about the reasons behind him choosing to represent Poland. “With ATP and Davis Cup, the opportunities are better here, I think. At my age, 28, sponsorship opportunities are probably better here… Now that I actually started deciding to live in Poland, it made more sense for me, with my family, and just where I am. With Felix and Denis on ATP and Davis Cup, unless I have an absolute belter of a year, it’s hard to be Top 2 there.”
Injury setbacks, same goals after all these years
When asked what he would have done differently, looking back at his transition period from juniors to the pros, Peliwo said: “Focusing less on results and putting less pressure on myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get there now, now, now. Maybe would have gone about some of the training different way, maybe basing myself somewhere else instead of Spain. But I had some injuries, had some issues there. (…) Obviously, there are probably a few things that I could have done a little better, but for the most part, I think it comes down to having a good team around you, just really keeping the direction and staying healthy, which I didn’t stay healthy for a while. Every time I had some momentum, I would eventually have some setbacks physically.”
Peliwo got to World No. 161 in 2018, played Grand Slam qualifying six times, and claimed the title at Knoxville Challenger in 2017. All that pales in comparison to his junior success though. Despite that, the 28-year-old is still optimistic about his chances to succeed and hungry for bigger and better results. “Same as it’s always been, it hasn’t changed. I wanna be top 10, I wanna be winning in Slams, I wanna be going far. Obviously, that goal is a little far at the moment, but my confidence, belief in myself haven’t changed. I know who I’ve beaten in the past, who I can beat, how my level can be. So I don’t doubt that I’ll get there, it’s just taking longer than I would have liked it to.”
He was originally supposed to receive a wild card to the qualifying in Poznań, but ultimately made it as an alternate. On Monday, Peliwo takes on Georgii Kravchenko (his doubles partner this week) for a spot in the main draw.
Main Photo credit: Paweł Rychter/Poznań Open 2022