MELBOURNE – We’re not 100 per cent sold on the cap, but Peter Polansky’s tennis was first-rate Wednesday in Australia.
The 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. made an impressive return to Grand Slam play as he posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 23-year-old Tristan Lamasine of France, ranked No. 124 but as high as No. 85 after last year’s French Open.
Lamasine looked overmatched, and Polansky looked really strong.
Polansky resurrected his career in 2016, grinding it out at the minor-league levels. When he began the year, he was outside the top 700 in the world and you had to wonder if he was going to be able to find a way to carry on; players of his age and ranking barely get a ‘Hi, how are you’ from Tennis Canada in terms of financial support, even though Polansky has faithfully represented his country in Davis Cup whenever called upon.
He played Futures. He played cash tournaments in Florida. He even played the US Open wild-card tournament down in Florida (with Philip Bester as his partner).
And by the end of the season, he stood at No. 135, close to a career-best No. 122 reached in 2014. For a week or so, he was even the No. 2-ranked player in Canada, edging out Vasek Pospisil for the honour. On Monday, Pospisil was ranked No. 132 to Polansky’s No. 135; in the live rankings. After the win (and Pospisil’s desultory loss a few hours earlier, on the same faraway Court 15 at Melbourne Park) they have switched spots and Polansky has become Canada’s No. 2 once again.
His second-round opponent Friday will be Mirza Basic of Bosnia.
Here’s what he’ll have to do to make the Australian Open main draw for the second time in his career, in seven attempts. The first and only time Polansky made it came all the way back in 2009.