It’s not exactly the type of pre-match preparation players get at the bigger events.
But in Granby last week, before his tough loss to American Chase Buchanan, Filip Peliwo and former national training centre member Khristina Blajkevitch met with a bunch of local kids, answered questions, posed for photos and signed for autographs.
Bigger tournaments probably wouldn’t even ask players to do stuff like this on match day, especially just an hour or two before they have to go out on court.
[caption id=”attachment_11906″ align=”alignright” width=”239″] Blajkevitch as a kid at the national centre. (From Tennis Canada)[/caption]
But it’s a different world in the Challengers. And Peliwo and Blajkevitch – with her winning smile and credible French – charmed the kids.
Yes, as you’ll notice, Peliwo signs with his left hand. He probably wishes he played lefthanded, too.
The two went very different routes as development players. Peliwo stayed at the national centre for years, and now is slogging it out at the lower levels of the pros.
Blajkevitch, who was one of the original class in the first year of the centre’s operation, didn’t last long there. She was far away from home, which is Victoria, and apparently it wasn’t the right fit for her.
Now 22, she wisely chose the college route; Blajkevitch played for the University of Kentucky and although she didn’t play much during the 2012-13 season, she did graduate – as a junior, with a GPA above 3.8 according to her university bio – as a journalism major.
Unrelated, probably, but both went out and lost their matches; Peliwo to Buchanan, and Blajkevitch and partner Danielle Mills to the French team of Foretz and Coin.
Also unrelated, Peliwo pinky-swore to Open Court that the noticeably lightened hair wasn’t the result of any salon or home salon “experimentation”, but the result of six months spent on and off in sunny Barcelona. He was very blond as a kid, he says (weren’t we all?)