GATINEAU, Que. – A series of tournaments in Quebec will allow Canadian players to compete at or near home for the next few weeks, and pick up some valuable ranking points.
The two biggest beneficiaries of this are teenagers Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, on different tracks since their junior days just months ago. It’s not only an opportunity to move up in the rankings, it’s also a happy reunion.
Shapovalov has trained some in Montreal in recent weeks (save for a brief excursion to Marseille after receiving a wild card into the ATP event there) and while there, has even been staying with Auger-Aliassime and his family. The two are also playing doubles together in the $25K event this week and won their quarter-final match Thursday night.
Shapovalov is in the singles quarter-finals along with another former junior Wimbledon champion, Filip Peliwo. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for Auger-Aliassime; he dropped his second-round match to American Eric Quigley Thursday night.
Here are some pics from Wednesday when Denis Shapovalov played 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Nielson of Denmark, and Auger-Aliassime pulled off a nervous-looking victory over 24-year-old Canadian Pavel Krainik.
Auger-Aliassime admitted to being tight in his win over Krainik, not as explosive with his legs as he wanted to be.
He went on the practice court afterwards to work on some things with Tennis Canada coach Guillaume Marx.
Shapovalov was there with his parents, less than a 10-minute drive from the TD Place arena where all the Davis Cup drama took place just a few weeks ago.
Also there? Peliwo, who was on the same early-season small tournament circuit on the Florida Har-Tru as Auger-Aliassime.
It’s been a tough go of it for the 2012 Wimbledon and US Open junior champion (he made the Australian and French Open finals, too). It’s hard to believe that was nearly five years ago.
Peliwo’s 2016 was a write-off. He developed a virus that proved very difficult to shake. It resulted in him losing a lot of weight and not even being to train for several months. After that, he had back issues. Peliwo said the back still isn’t 100 per cent, but he’s focusing on getting back to what made him successful in the first place from the technical and tactical side.
That’s no easy task; Peliwo has gone through a lot of coaches in the interim and its seemed that with every coach came some technical change or other. Even club players know how very difficult those changes are to incorporate; that’s especially true when you’re trying to win matches at the same time.
Also on hand in Gatineau was Philip Bester, whose 2017 only began last week when he and Peter Polansky received a wild card into the doubles at the ATP Tour stop in Delray Beach, Fla.
Everything’s fine now, Bester told Open Court; he had been struggling with Achilles tendinopathy. We can relate wholeheartedly; it turns out Bester’s been doing the exact same treatment, too. But it takes time.
Bester bowed out in three sets in his first singles match of the year, but did win a round in doubles.
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