Photo: Susan MullaneFilip Peliwo (CAN)
Reigning ITF Junior World Champion Filip Peliwo continued his impressive spell of form on his transition to the senior tour by winning his first ATP Tour-level match against Jarkko Nieminen in Montreal, where he was one of five Canadians to reach the second round. In his fourth blog in a five-part series for ITF Juniors, 19-year-old Peliwo discusses the surge in fortunes of Canadian players and considers the possibility of playing a role in the Davis Cup semifinals in September.
I have been a hitting partner for the Canadian Davis Cup team in the past but I have absolutely no idea at the moment if I’ll have a specific role to play in the semifinals against Serbia in Belgrade. I would expect the team would probably try to keep the same routine and I’ll probably be going as a hitting partner again but I’m not 100 per cent sure what’s happening with that as I haven’t heard from the team yet. We’ll see.
If I do go to Belgrade as a hitting partner I’ll just try to prepare the team, keep them in good spirits as much as I can and just keep the run going. It will definitely be a great experience for Canada to be playing against Serbia, who won the Davis Cup before a couple of years ago, and something I’d be really excited about if I were to go.
The team is playing really well at the moment and reaching the Davis Cup semifinals is something that everyone is proud of and ecstatic about. All the guys have been working hard to achieve something like this. We weren’t even in the World Group two years ago and if someone told us then that we’d be in the semifinals after beating Italy and Spain (even though it wasn’t Spain’s No. 1 team it was still a good team) I’m not sure we would have believed them.
The guys always believed they had it in them and I think deep down they knew that they could do it, but to be able to put it together like they have was tough to imagine. I’m very, very happy about it - I’m sure the team are as well - and they’ll be hoping to keep it going. I think this is the start of a good run for Canadian Davis Cup and Canadian Tennis. Hopefully it’s just the beginning.
All us Canadians get along pretty well. The guys on the team try to help me out whenever they can with a couple of tips here and there. I see them mostly at Davis Cup and hitting with them is great. It’s nice to be able to train with guys that are at a higher level than me and have achieved some of the things that I’m trying to achieve.
Hitting with Milos Raonic in particular is a good experience in itself but I’m not sure how much it helps my return game because I actually have to try to return the serves. My return game only improves if I’m able to return the ball! His arm definitely keeps me alert and sharpens my reactions but if he’s serving really well I can go a whole game without touching a couple of balls.
I can go for quite a while without really making any returns, and that’s where it becomes a bit less beneficial for my game than if I was playing a guy that I could make four returns in a row against. The biggest benefit is that it helps my reactions, the anticipation and that kind of stuff. Otherwise it’s hard to work on your returns when the guy is acing you!
Peliwo talks mental toughness, his fitness regimen and reveals the song that gets him in the mood for battle in his next blog on Wednesday 14 August