© Ella Ling

US Open - balls

Interview with junior Wimbledon champion

   
Canada’s Filip Peliwo is the junior Wimbledon champion who is hoping to end his junior career by adding the US Open title to his collection. He tells The Tennis Space what life has been life for him since his triumph. 

 

When you lost in Australia, you were upset but it was your first final; then when you lost the final at the French Open you were devastated. Did winning Wimbledon make up for all the hurt? I think it did. I wouldn’t change anything that happened over the course of the year. 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.

What were your celebrations like? I actually haven’t had the chance to celebrate yet. I couldn’t because I went straight into more tournaments so I’ll try to win here and make it a double celebration. 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.

Is the pressure totally off you now that you have that grand slam title? Now that I’ve won Wimbledon, I have that grand slam and this is a bonus. Obviously I would like to end the year number one but it doesn’t give me that pressure to win one before I’m done with juniors. There’s no race to win a title before I end my career. Winning Wimbledon definitely took a lot of pressure off.

You are world No 2 and Kimmer Coppejans is No 1 – there’s a race between you to end the year No 1, I imagine? I’ve been friends with Kimmer for many, many years and I have to say he’s a really nice, quiet guy, humble, probably one of the nicest guys on the tour. I think we’ve got a healthy rivalry. We’re egging on each other a little bit but you never know, what you say might come back and bite you, I’ve had my moments where I kind of trash-talked my friends and then ended up losing to them so I won’t make that mistake again. But we always poke fun at each other, it’s all done in fun.

Laura Robson told a story 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. How is fame treating you? I haven’t had anything quite like that (laughing). 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.