05 Sep 2012

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

News Article

Filip Peliwo (CAN)

Adversity is something all players have to deal with during their careers and sometimes it pays to get your education in early. Poor weather at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday forced the cancellation of the singles schedule while the doubles matches were played indoors at the Sound Shore Club in nearby Port Chester.

Dealing with changing conditions is common fare for tennis players but changes in venue and surface can be tough to cope with. In the end, it’s about getting through it and in this case, picking things up when the weather improves.

The same goes for dealing with the inevitability of losing matches and recovering from the mental scars. Canada’s Filip Peliwo, the Wimbledon junior champion, is a firm believer that “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.

When he was beaten in the final of the Australian Open in January, Peliwo was understandably disappointed, but still heartened by reaching his first grand slam final. When he lost in the final of the French Open just a few months later, he was devastated. Many players would have let it affect them and fallen apart for the rest of the year but Peliwo found a way to turn it into a positive.

“I wouldn’t change anything that happened over the course of the year,” said Peliwo, who plays Markos Kalovenlonis of Greece in the second round on Wednesday, weather permitting. “Obviously if I could have won all three grand slams I would have taken it, but I’m the kind of guy that thinks that if I hadn’t lost in France, I probably wouldn’t have won at Wimbledon.

“I’m happy about it. It gave me the hunger and lowered the expectations, and I didn’t go in with any pressure. I played well and was able to play my game. I’m happy I was able to get my first one there and it was a great experience.

Dealing with the fame that comes with success is another thing he is learning to deal with. Laura Robson, the 18-year-old Briton who reached the fourth round of the main draw at Flushing Meadows with wins over Kim Clijsters and Li Na, told this week about coming out of her hotel to see a camera crew and thinking: “somebody famous must be staying here, I wonder who it is” and then being shocked when they asked for her.

“I haven’t had anything quite like that,” Peliwo laughed. “Although, when I went to a tournament in Canada, in Saskatoon, right after Wimbledon, there was a camera crew waiting for me. I was saying: ‘that’s not for me, is it? I’m pretty sure that’s not for me. They said: Filip and I said out loud, am I on TV? And they were already recording. I said ‘No way, no way’.” “That’s about as close as I got to that kind of stardom.”

As junior champion, Peliwo went to the Wimbledon Champions Dinner, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams, but said he had not yet had a proper chance to celebrate at home in Canada.

“I couldn’t because I went straight into more tournaments so I’ll try to win here and make it a double celebration,” he said. “There was a lot of attention, especially because it was the first grand slam any Canadian male had won – obviously Eugenie (Bouchard) had got the first one ever just the day before – she beat me to it because of the scheduling, but I am sure her winning helped win as well, so I’m not complaining.

“It made it a lot bigger (in Canada) because both of us won. I had interview requests left and right, people recognising me when I’m out and about.

“It’s nice but it’s tiring. It can make it a little difficult to focus on your tennis if you don’t know how to handle it. I’m starting to learn how to handle it better and my results are coming back.”