Thursday, 23 August 2012

Wimbledon winner gives 'Peg a try

Wimbledon champ comes to Winnipeg

[Courtesy of Kevin Hirschfield, Winnipeg Sun]

Along with being upset, Vancouver tennis star Filip Peliwo admitted he was worried after losing the final of the French Junior Open in June.

“I was so disappointed with that one, probably the most disappointing loss of the year and even of my life,” said Peliwo. “I was so down after it.”

It was his second straight loss in a junior grand slam final after a loss at the Australian Open in January and the 18-year-old was concerned about bouncing back from consecutive heartbreaks. But just under a month later in London, Peliwo was celebrating a Wimbledon junior title, becoming the first Canadian male to accomplish that feat.

“I just went in to Wimbledon with no expectations, forgot about the French and got my major on the third try,” said Peliwo.

The Wimbledon champ is in Winnipeg this week competing in the ITF Manshield Futures Tournament at Sargent Park Tennis Garden. The ITF Men’s Pro Circuit is known as the third tier tour for professional men’s tennis with the ATP World Tour being the top level and the Challengers Tour being the second level. The inaugural Winnipeg ITF event features a $15,000 prize for the winner, one of the reasons Peliwo decided to make his first trip to Winnipeg.

“I’ve been playing Futures mostly, and the prize here is bigger than most futures tournaments, and I’m ranked pretty high so it’s a chance for me to do well.”

Peliwo is the top-ranked junior player in the world but in this week’s tournament that features some experienced professionals, Peliwo sits as the fifth seed. He is also using this tournament as a tune-up for the final grand slam junior event, the US Junior Open, in New York beginning Sept. 2, which he says will likely be his last junior event as he makes the transition to the full-time pro stage. He says every week playing against professional players is a learning experience.

“You learn what you have to do to beat these guys,” said Peliwo. “Even if you don’t win, like for example when I played in the Rogers Cup (qualifying) a few weeks back, I saw what I had to do to beat the guy and I was trying to go for too much.”

It’s been an outstanding couple of months for tennis in Canada, with Milos Raonic rising up the ATP rankings, and Peliwo and Eugenie Bouchard winning the boys and girls junior crowns at Wimbledon. But Peliwo isn’t worried about any pressure that may be added as the result of his major victory.

“I’ve managed to get my head past that,” he said. “I’ve obviously noticed there’s more attention but I’m just playing it as another tournament and focusing on my game. I find it a lot easier now to keep that pressure off, I just take it as support rather than people having big expectations.”

Peliwo won his first singles match in Winnipeg and was playing in the round of 16 Thursday afternoon. The semifinals go Saturday afternoon at Sargent Park with the final going Sunday.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Pro tennis hits town

Canadian Ian Vincent Filoteo returns to Hans Hach Verdugo
in qualifying. (cole breiland / winnipeg free press)

[Courtesy of Jeff Hamilton, Winnipeg Free Press]

PRO tennis has made its way back to Winnipeg.

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Manshield Tennis Futures Tournament at Sargent Park Tennis Garden and the first time the city has hosted a pro tennis tournament since the 1999 Pan American Games.

It's the first time Winnipeg has hosted a men's draw sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation, a professional circuit that consists of close to 300 tournaments worldwide each year.

"As far as tennis goes I think we're opening the door," said tournament director George Kylar about the impact of the tournament on local talent. "I think right now we are relying on strictly the (method) take some lessons, work out, and come and play local tournaments which are very average in level and very average in attendance. That's got to grow. Motivation is the biggest aspect to tennis. Hopefully some kids will watch matches and say 'you know what, this is what I want to do' and that will lead to better tennis in this province."

Three Manitobans will be competing in the tournament, all of whom reached the draw thanks to wild-card spots allocated for the tournament host. In men's doubles, Winnipegger Muzeen Ismath and Kevin Kylar will see action. Ismath will play with Mill Bay, B.C native Alden Eakins while Kylar will be matched up with Andrew Ochotta from Scarborough, Ont. Kylar will also be the lone Manitoban in the men's singles draw.

"It's great," said Kylar. "A crowd will come out and I know the courts. It's a big opportunity. You're at home, you have your regular routine, you sleep in your own bed, which is always better than travelling."

Another name expected to grab attention this week is 18-year-old Filip Peliwo, who won the boy's title at Wimbledon this summer in London, England.

"I like it so far. It's a nice calm place and I can do my own thing and relax when I need to," said Peliwo about his time in Winnipeg so far. "It's good to be here and I think it's a really good place to start my first tournament (in his upcoming five-week tour) and I'm happy to be here."

Peliwo is ranked fifth among the tournament hopefuls.

"If I'm playing well I think my chances are great. I'm hoping to get my first pro title here but you never know. Everyone's good here and you can lose to anyone," he said.

Rounding out the top five are No. 1-ranked Daniel Garza from Mexico, followed by Ante Pavic from Croatia, Japan native Hiroyasu Ehara and Joshua Zavala from the U.S.

Action begins today at 10 a.m., running all week. The finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Pro tennis players duke it out at Sargent Park

Three-time Manitoba open doubles champion Museen Ismath waits
for the serve in the qualifying round of the Manshield Tennis Futures
tournament at Sargent Park Tennis Garden.
[Courtesy of Geoff Kirbyson, Winnipeg Free Press]

This might be your only chance to see future tennis champions in the flesh.

The Manshield Tennis Futures, the first professional tennis tournament in Winnipeg since the 1999 Pan Am Games, features a strong international flavour at the Sargent Park tennis complex this week.

Players from across Canada as well as the U.S., Mexico, Italy, Great Britain and New Zealand are vying for valuable ranking points as they try to make their way up the professional tennis ladder.

Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo, 18, who won the boys singles championship at Wimbledon last month – the same title won by legends such as Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash – is the No. 5 seed.

He said he’s hoping to use this International Tennis Federation tournament as a final step in his preparation for the U.S. Open juniors.

See also WFPtv video.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Tennis Manitoba 1st Serve Magazine: August 2012

The August 2012 issue of the Tennis Manitoba 1st Service magazine is now available. Feature articles include:

  • Back to School, Back to Indoor Tennis Fun!
  • Manshield ITF Pro Circuit Event
  • 2012 Manitoba Open Recap
  • Junior High Performance Snapshots
  • Coaches Corner
  • The Meaning of "Love" in Tennis. 

Get it online at

Manshield helping build professional tennis careers

With great excitement we announce that for the first time men’s professional tennis is coming to Winnipeg in August 2012!

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) Pro Circuit is an entry level professional tennis initiative. The ITF and its member nations work together to grow the game. As part of the building process, Winnipeg has been chosen to be a host city on this prestigious circuit of pro tournaments.

Athletes from around the world will be on hand at Sargent Park Tennis Garden to compete for valuable world ranking points along with cash prizes totalling $15,000 USD. Most exciting of all is the opportunity provided to local players to springboard their professional careers.

Be a part of building opportunities for our aspiring athletes!

Tournament Director
George Kylar

Tournament Chairman
Mark Arndt

This is an excerpt from the August 2012 issue of the Tennis Manitoba 1st Serve magazine.

Wimbledon junior champ in 'Peg tennis tourney

Filip Peliwo of Canada hits a return to Luke Saville of Australia
 in their boys' singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis
Championships in London July 8, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

[Courtesy of Winnipeg Sun, Kevin Hirschfield, QMI Agency]

The field for Winnipeg’s first professional tennis tournament since the 1999 Pan American Games got much stronger with the addition of a Wimbledon junior champion.

The ITF Men’s Pro Circuit makes its way through the city for the Manshield Futures Tournament from August 18-26 at the Sargent Park Tennis Complex and the field will be highlighted by 18-year-old Canadian Filip Peliwo, who is hot off winning the boys singles championship at Wimbledon last month.

“We were definitely surprised,” said Mark Arndt, tournament chairman. “We’re lucky enough that his schedule lined up, and he had a window where he was able to fit us in.”

An organizer for Tennis Canada said that Peliwo is using Winnipeg as a tune-up for the U.S. Junior Open in New York which begins in a few weeks’ time. Peliwo was also a finalist at the Australian Junior Open and French Junior Open earlier this year.

The ITF Men’s Pro Circuit is known as the third tier tour for professional men’s tennis with the ATP World Tour being the top level and the Challengers Tour being the second level. The inaugural Winnipeg ITF event will feature a $15,000 prize for the winner as well as valuable ranking points.

“Tennis Canada has always made periodic trips to Winnipeg,” said George Kylar, tournament director. “And they were always asking if Winnipeg was going to get something because they always want to get more involved with the prairie regions.”

“George and I discussed it,” said Arndt. “We said why don’t we do something like this. Obviously we won’t get the top level here in Winnipeg but why not try for the next best that we can. Let’s do it for tennis in Winnipeg, there’s an opportunity and a window here for something like this.”

Arndt said the goal is to host a Challengers Tour tournament one day.

The ITF Pro Circuit tour plays “Futures” tournaments year round and hosts some of the top young studs in tennis, who are looking to take the next step.

That means the Wimbledon champ Peliwo, ranked 614th in the world, is only the fifth-ranked player at the Winnipeg tournament. Daniel Garza, the top-ranked Mexican player in the world (421st), will be the top seed followed by Ante Pavic of Croatia (456th) and Hiroyasu Ehara of Japan (585th).

Other players from the United States, Great Britain, Italy, and New Zealand will bring even more international flavour to the event and Manitoba’s No. 1-ranked player Kevin Kylar will also be in the main draw. As for other Manitobans, a local wildcard event got underway Wednesday with the winners earning a berth into the qualifying portion of the tournament. The qualifying stages take place this Sunday and Monday and the winners of that will round out the field of 32 in the main draw, beginning Tuesday.

“We felt it was very important to have a local presence here so we were able to secure five spots for local players to get into qualifying,” said Kylar.

Action begins daily at 10 a.m., with evening draws starting at 5:30 p.m. The tournament concludes with the singles final on Sunday Aug. 26th.

See also Shaw TV previews Manshield ITF Futures

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Shaw TV previews Manshield ITF Futures

Shaw TV talks to Manshield ITF Futures Tournament Chairman Mark Arndt and Tournament Director George Kylar.