November 29, 2021

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Peliwo

Why this idea just occurred to us … NOW, after more than a year of being on Zooms during the pandemic, we can only put down to … pandemic brain.

But here is the first installment of “Zooming with Open Court”, going in-depth with players about the good, the bad and … the grind.

Our inaugural guest is Canadian Filip Peliwo.

Peliwo, a former junior No. 1, accomplished a rare feat in 2012.

He reached the final of all four junior Grand Slams. And after losing the first two, he won at Wimbledon. And then he won again at the US Open (beating Nick Kyrgios and Kyle Edmund along the way) to cap off a stellar junior career.

Since then, it has been anything but butterflies and rainbows.

Every time he seemed to be gaining momentum, something happened to slow his journey.

Even back in 2014, when we wrote this piece about him, it was already one challenge after another.

The pandemic is just the most recent challenge.

And given Peliwo has been very under the radar, who knew that not only did he have surgery, but he also came down with a nasty case of COVID.

Tough times in Sharm el Sheikh

It’s a pretty challenging life when you’re feeling that badly, sitting in a hotel room a zillion miles away from home, essentially depending on the kindness of strangers to get through it.

But the 27-year-old got through that – and what he described as “40 per cent lung capacity” at its worst. And he is on the comeup again. He’s grinding his way through the Futures circuit – again. And when we spoke last week, Peliwo had just won a $25,000 ITF in Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan. He defeated former top-40 player Andrey Kuznetsov in the final.

Here’s our talk – we edited a few sections out where the Kazakh wifi let us down. But most of it is included.

Building on the momentum

Since then, Peliwo has kept it going.

He made the semis of the next event in Nur-Sultan that week. And then he moved his operations to Israel, where he reached another semifinal.

Last week’s semifinal hasn’t been added to the ATP rankings as yet. But he has now broken back into the top 400, at about No. 387.

Peliwo is the No. 2 seed in another ITF in Israel this week.

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Blast from the past – July, 2012

During our conversation, I brought up that press conference in Montreal, after he and Genie Bouchard – both 18 – returned home in triumph to show off their junior Wimbledon trophies.

It seemed as though there were only clear skies ahead for both of them.

And, of course, both have gone through their struggles, in different ways.

Here’s that press conference (it was the early Open Court video days). Crazy how it feels like both yesterday and a hundred years ago at the same time.

And here’s Peliwo’s triumphant moment, as he held up the Wimbledon junior boys’ singles trophy.