Category Archives: Junior

On futures you have 10 people watching if you are lucky: Interview with Filip Peliwo

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I watched you several times but for those that could not, describe yourself on tennis court: your best side and your weakness.

I would say my biggest strength is my ground strokes, returns, and my speed. I play at a very fast tempo, which puts a lot of pressure on my opponents. I like to stay quite close to the baseline to take the ball very early.

What is your favourite surface?

Hardcourt

Do you have a coach?

Nicolas Copin

Do you have any sponsor?

Lacoste and Tecnifibre

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

Always listen to music before the match to zone out from outside distractions, make sure I’m sharp and ready to start with high adrenaline

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not? Especially in foreign tournaments.

Absolutely, I play with a lot of energy, intensity and adrenaline, so a good crowd can help me a lot. I love playing in front of big crowds!

Whom you don’t like to play (What style of game)?

I like to play everybody

And whom do you like to play (What style of game)?

No preference

What was the best match you’ve ever played?

Not sure, there are a few that come to mind. I would say beating Nieminen at the Masters in Canada was one of them. Started out nervous and didn’t play that well but came back and finished very very well

What is the weirdest thing happened to you on tour?

Tough to say, there aren’t many weird stories, pretty simple routine generally. Got a default to get my first ever futures title because the guy got sick

What is your favourite tennis player and why?

Pete Sampras, his serve was the best ever, always loved watching him compete against Agassi

Who is the toughest opponent you faced?

Nieminen or Delbonis

Your canadian mate Brayden Schnur chose to study and play NCAA : Did you ever think about this possibility?

I don’t ever think about it, I made the right choice going pro.

Which advice would you give to a young player who is starting to play Future tournaments?

Don’t be too intimidated by guys hitting hard, just fight as hard as you can and you will be surprised that a lot of the guys are not as difficult to beat as it may seem at first.

Describe the differences between ITF pro and junior tournaments (organization, atmosphere, courts etc)

The main difference is that higher up in the level of juniors you start to get more people coming to watch, and then you go to futures and have 10 people if you are lucky. You go back to the beginning and need to work your way up to get to the more rewarding tournaments

You have been junior #1 and multiple Slam winner: how much difficult is the transition from junior to pro?

Very difficult, it is hard to break through to the top level of pros, takes a lot of physical work and to get mentally strong. You can’t get away with mistakes against the pros like it is possible to do with juniors.

Your opinion about anti-doping programme: have you have ever been tested in competition or out of competition?

Yes quite a few times, only in competition. It is a necessary process in order to keep our sport clean.

Have you ever been approached (Skype, Facebook etc…) by someone to fix a match?

Never have been, fortunately

What do you think about the ITF and Challenger Prize money increase announced?

I think it is a good step in the right direction. The lower levels of the pro tour are difficult to make enough money to continue playing unless you get into some big atp events, so it will help players very much.

Your opinion about possible changes as no-let and no-adv.

I think those are terrible changes, it would ruin the game in my opinion.

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power.

Definitely would increase prize money for the lower tournaments. As far as rules go nothing comes to mind, I’m pretty happy with the way the game is played.

What is your schedule for beginning of 2015?

Futures mainly, until I can play more challengers.

What is your goal for 2015? Just stay healthy or do you have a ranking goal?

Stay healthy and get close to or into the top 100

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Very big on music, always enjoy that a lot. I generally just relax in my free time, usually am quite tired after training or matches. Either read a book or watch some movies/tv series

Your favourite movie?

Gladiator

And music?

Any kind of rock/alternative, anywhere from Foo fighters to Beatles to the Killers to Led Zeppelin

Thanks Filip!

16 yo and already ITF Pro Circuit Runner-up: interview with Alexa Graham

Alexa Graham is surely one on the young players to watch on the ITF Pro circuit in 2015.

She made a great debut this year reaching the final at Fort-de-France 10k, beating top 500 (Guarachi) and top 300 (Ramialison) opponents.

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I could never watch you so please describe yourself on tennis court: your best side and your weakness

I enjoy playing in a competive atmosphere and learning from the experience of playing players with high talent.

What is your favourite surface?

I train on Har Tru and Hard Courts, but Hard Courts are definitely my favorite.

I read that you are coached by Anna Bielen-Zarska, is this right? From how long time is she following you?

Yes, Anna has been coaching me for about three years now! We work really well together and I love training with her every day.

Did you travel to Martinique with her or with family?

I traveled to Martinique with one of my hitting coaches, Eric Bratt.

Do you have any sponsor?

I’m on Babolat’s national team and they provide me with equipment.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

Before my matches I warm up all my strokes and sharpen anything that seems to be off.

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not ? Especially in foreign tournaments

I always enjoy playing in front of a crowd, no matter where it is.

What was the best match you’ve ever played?

When I was 14 years old playing a 10k in Pennsylvania I won my first wta point. We split sets and then I was down 5-2 and a match point in the third set and came back to win the match.

What is your favourite tennis player and why?

I like Maria Sharapova because she is very competitive on the court. She is always intense and aggressive. She also has the ability to come back from adversity and injury.

You are very young: how can you put together tennis and your education?

I’m an online high school student. It’s a big commitment and takes a lot of coordination and planning.

You played only one ITF junior tournament, why?

I’ve only played one junior ITF tournament because my coach and I thought it was better to invest the resources in playing pro circuit events.

Do you have any relation with other good US junior girls (Bellis, Neel, Kenin, Gordon etc..?)

I’ve made a lot of good friends through tennis including Ingrid Neel, Jessie Aney, and Alexis Nelson. Even though we dont live close to each other, we manage to stay in touch.

Describe the differences between ITF and USTA tournaments (organization, atmosphere, courts etc)

ITF tournaments are run more professionally and you are usually only playing one match a day.

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power

Each match should have a definite start time, there should be line judges on all the lines for every match, and to be given the oppurtunity to talk to your coach between split sets.

What is your schedule for beginning of 2015?

I’m going down to Florida next weekend for a national open. I also plan on playing the two 10ks in Florida in March.

What is your goal for 2015? Just stay healthy and improve your game or do you have a ranking goal?

This year I want to compete in as many pro events as possible and keep improving my ranking.

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

The weekends that I’m home I always like going to the movies and the mall with my friends.

Your favourite movie?

My favorite movie is The Internship. I laugh everytime I watch it!

And music?

I really like Taylor Swift’s new album.

Thanks for the interview and best of luck for your career!

8 class 1999 & 1 class 2000 juniors you better watch in 2015

Now that the 2014 season is virtually over, it’s good to check which players have to be followed next year.

I know that writing about 15 yo is a pretty long shot but I think the players below will give us an interesting 2015: ordered by birth date, starting from the younger one.

Every three months I will update you about their performances.


Yshai Oliel (ISR)

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Date of birth 05/01/2000

Actual Junior Ranking 277

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Left Handed (Double Handed Backhand) with both power and touch, product of the David Squad, a non-profit program for development of Israeli tennis.

Impressive junior results L 26 36 26 vs Oh (#34) W 64 60 vs Stary (#81)


Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)

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Date of birth 31/08/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 62

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Video 

Impressive junior results L 67 26 vs Rublev (#1) W 63 62 Denolly (#24)


Toru Horie (JAP)

Date of birth 18/05/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 229

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Impressive junior results L 57 62 vs Nikles (#41) W 26 62 64 vs Moutet (#63), W 63 63 vs Ly (#49)


Corentin Moutet (FRA)

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Date of birth 19/04/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 66

Actual Pro Ranking 1311

Info Left Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Video 

Impressive junior results W 62 36 76 vs Lee (#3) L 67 63 06 vs Menezes (#23) W 76 67 76 vs Geens (#7)

Impressive pro results W 63 62 vs Hernandez (#282), W 64 ret. vs Linzer (#496)


Denis Shapovalov (CAN)

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Date of birth 15/04/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 144

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Left Handed (One Handed Backhand)

Video at age 8

Impressive junior results L 46 36 vs Fritz (#7) L 76 36 46 vs Valkusz (#53), L 36 46 vs Nagal (#43)

Impressive pro results L 46 26 vs King (#492)


Jack Minjie Lin (CAN)

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Date of birth 15/04/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 202

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Video 

Impressive junior results W 16 76 76 vs Fritz (#7) W 61 64 vs Frunza (#43)


Vasil Kirkov (USA)

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Date of birth 13/03/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 354

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Impressive junior results: W 64 62 vs Klintcharov (#67) L 67 26 vs Van Rijthoven (#22)


Sam Riffice (USA)

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Date of birth 01/03/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 199

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)

Video 

Impressive junior results Just won U16 Eddie Herr & Orange Bowl, L 46 67 vs Kecmanovic (#62), L 16 64 67 vs Mmoh (#7)


Patrik Rikl (CZE)

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Date of birth 06/01/1999

Actual Junior Ranking 229

Actual Pro Ranking No Rank

Info: Patrik plays right handed, a double handed backhand and started to play tennis at the age of 3.

Patrick Rikl’s Father David Rikl used to be sponsored by Babolat, Lotto and Nike and had World Ranking Number 2 in Doubles. He played doubles with Jiri Novak and Leander Paes. His World Ranking in singles was number 41.

His Mother Alice Rikl reached World Ranking 200 in singles and 100 in doubles but then had to retire from professional tennis due to an injury

Impressive pro results: L 46 67 vs Ivo Klec (#386), L 46 46 vs Bastian Wagner (826)