Remember your final year of high school? You and your classmates ruled the school — you were the oldest kids, and the ones whom the rest of the school looked up to. But after graduation, whether you went to college, university or out into the working world, you were brought back down to earth. You went from being the old and wise one to the little youngin just looking to survive.
That’s where 18-year-old Filip Peliwo finds himself.
After reaching all four Junior Grand Slam finals this year and winning the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, Peliwo finished the year as the No. 1 junior and was named ITF Junior World Champion on Tuesday. Not too shabby.
Granted, Peliwo had a career year, but he’s no longer a junior. Peliwo is now on the pro circuit where his junior success doesn’t matter.
Peliwo is just a boy — a boy who now has to compete against men.
To be successful on the ATP World Tour you need to have more than just a wicked serve or killer forehand. You need both mental and physical strength to carry you through the grueling schedule.
At 18 years old, Peliwo is a talented player but he’ll have trouble winning on tour with his small physique.
In today’s ATP top 10, only three players are 25 years old or younger. Gone are the days when an 18-year-old can win a Grand Slam. The last ATP player to do that was Rafael Nadal. Even Canadian Milos Raonic, the youngest player in the ATP top 20 (at 21 years old), only found success after a few years on the professional circuit.
In order to win the big tournaments you need to be a talented, fit, and flexible machine. Even the most talented players, like Novak Djokovic, only reached their full potential after diet and fitness changes.
Peliwo is a bright and exciting Canadian talent. Is he guaranteed success on the ATP tour? No. And even if he finds it, it will take a few years. But it sure will be fun to watch.