A Canadian has never won the men’s Winnipeg National Bank Challenger, but Toronto’s Peter Polansky is looking to change that this week.
He’s the top-ranked Canadian player at this week’s event, and looking at his track record playing Challenger events on home soil, there’s reason to believe Polansky could get the job done.
Polansky won the Granby National Bank Challenger last year and also has two Challenger de Gatineau titles on his resume as well.
“These tournaments are always tough,” Polansky told Tennis Manitoba on Monday. “Regardless where it is, whether I’m playing in Canada, the States, Europe or wherever, just getting through the draw and doing well is always a good feeling. It builds a lot of match confidence and I think maybe playing in Canada and if I win them here they mean a little bit more being on home ground, but these are tough tournaments. Regardless where you are, they’re tough tournaments to win.”
This is the fourth time Polansky has come to Winnipeg for this event, with his best finish coming two years ago when he lost 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the final to Slovenian Blaž Kavčič.
“Yeah, I actually lost to Blaž in the final here and in the final in Granby that year,” recalled the 31-year-old Polansky. “It was a tight match. I think both times I played him it was really close. I think we both had some chances to win or go up a break in the third. He just had the edge on me just a little bit. Both matches were very tight and could’ve went either way. But you know, I don’t really look back at that too much and think ‘Oh I lost in the final.’ I’m mainly looking forward here and happy to be playing here again.”
Polansky said he only gets to play events in Canada five or six times a year, with the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger always being one that he enjoys.
“I feel like it’s a nice event. It’s a nice park area, it’s well-run, a lot of people are very helpful and they do a good job at managing the tournament and making sure the players have what they need,” he said. “I just feel coming here and playing here is always nice as a player which is good.”
But what would make playing here even nicer for Polansky is if he can end the week by lifting the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger trophy over his head.
“I do believe if I play well, I can win this tournament.”