New Kid on the Block: Filip Peliwo’s First Davis Cup Tie

October 2, 2012 · Print This Article

photo credit: Filip Peliwo

by: Jack Han

In September, Filip Peliwo made his debut as practice partner for the Canadian Davis Cup team in its tie against South Africa.  The reigning Wimbledon and US Open junior champion was part of a successful squad which dismissed the Kevin Anderson-less RSA team by the score of 4 matches to 1, which sets them up for an intriguing first-round encounter with Spain’s powerful Davis Cup team next spring.

I caught up with Filip to talk about his initiation dance, returning Milos’ 140MPH serve, and perhaps being a Davis Cup hero for Canada in the near future:

J: What was your initiation like?

F: Not sure if you saw, but after Milos’ match (a straight-sets win over Izak van der Merwe to clinch the tie), the guys had me go out on center court and do that dumb dance in front of everyone.  It was embarrassing.  I did a few of the moves wrong.  (search “Filip Peliwo Gangnam Style” on YouTube if you want to see how he did – you won’t regret it)

J: Tell me about trying to return Milos Raonic’s serve; did you try moving forward or moving back to get a better read on it?

F: It was really tough returning his serve, but I think I did a decent job.  He definitely aced me a lot of times in practice.  I’d usually try to move in because I was struggling a lot from further back with his serve.  (moving in takes away from Filip’s reaction time, but at the same time allows him to cut off the angles and get a racquet on wide serves)

J: What was a typical day like during the tie, in terms of practice times, meal times etc?

F: During the week, we’d usually practice a couple of times a day for a max of 2 hours per session, usually less.  We ate in the locker room in between hits.

J: Canada plays Spain at home next February.  Let’s say the matches are tied 2-2 and you have to play the deciding rubber against Rafael Nadal.  What do you do before the match to get ready?

F: Haha I know that it won’t happen, but I’d just do my regular pre match routine.  Keep it familiar so that I am confident I can bring my best game.

J: Let’s say it’s 5-4 in the fifth set and you’re serving for the match against Rafa. What are you focus on while sitting at the changeover?

F: I’ve been in that situation before, though not against a guy like Rafa.  Same as always, I would try to stay calm and focus on what I have to do I want to put the match away, and that usually means a lot of first serves in play and playing aggressively; moving forward when there’s an opportunity.

Big thanks to Filip for taking the time, and please do comment here to send him your encouragement for his tournaments coming up in Turkey and Israel!

Photo Credit: Filip Peliwo

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