Photo: Susan MullaneFilip Peliwo (CAN)
Reigning ITF Junior World Champion Filip Peliwo climbed to a career-high ranking of No. 279 in the world this week after a strong few weeks on the professional circuit that saw him record a debut ATP match-win against world No. 39 Jarkko Nieminen in Montreal. Often praised for his mental resolve on court during his junior career, the 19-year-old Vancouver native talks about his routines to stay mentally tough in matches and the importance of maintaining a high fitness level in the modern game in the last of his five-part blog series for ITF Juniors.
I was always really, really competitive as a kid. I hated losing so much and I wanted to win at everything, even if it was a random game with friends at the age of eight or younger. I’ve always had that competitive aspect in my personality and that’s helped me every time I go out and play a tennis match. I fight as hard as I can, do everything I can to win and that is what got me through a lot of matches at the junior majors last year. Even when things weren’t going so well, I managed to find a way to just grind through matches.
I have little routines that I go through to try and bring my level up if I’m not playing particularly well. Even when I’m down I try not to focus on the scoring, just play every point as if it were a huge point. I always play as hard as I can. It’s all about forgetting about the score and taking it one point at a time. The less you look forward or to the past the better you are going to play. You’re not always going to win if you do have to fight for every point, but a lot of times you are going to get through matches that you had no expectation of winning where you were down or in a position that nobody expected you to come back from.
When it comes to fighting for every point, it helps if you are a fit as you can be. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I enjoy all the running and sprinting drills in training but I know it’s for a good cause so I always go out and give it my best effort. At times I do enjoy it, but it’s not like I go out and hate it either. It’s something that I know I need to do if I want to succeed. It’s part of the job so I do it.
I’m proud and happy to be able to say that I’ve got a good level of fitness. Being one of the fitter guys on the junior circuit last year has given me motivation to keep working harder so I can do the same thing on the pro circuit and be able to say ‘I’m fitter than most people on the circuit’, such as the likes of [Novak] Djokovic and [Andy] Murray are able to say.
Fitness will get you through a lot of matches that you wouldn’t be able to get through otherwise. When you’re playing badly that’s when the fitness really shows up because that’s where you have to work for a few points physically and end up getting to a few balls that can help you get your game back.
When it comes to psyching myself up for matches, music can really help before you walk on court. I would say the song I’ve listened to most before a match is ‘One Step Closer’ by Linkin Park. It pumps me up really well!
Read Filip Peliwo’s complete blog-series for ITF Juniors below.