Filip Peliwo is an extraordinary guy. By the age of eighteen, Filip completed his junior tennis career by winning the US Open and Wimbledon Junior Championships and ended the year ranked World Junior No.1. Aside from being a world class talent, Filip is a fantastic guy with some very interesting stories. When one pictures professional tennis players, they imagine a life of luxury while circumnavigating the globe. The honest answer is that aside from a few at the tippy top, travel for most on the tour is much more hassle and grind than luxury. I absolutely love sports, music and travel and I am thrilled to present this inaugural Q&A post in our weekly series of travel stories and tips from fascinating athletes, musicians, entertainers and road warriors.
Strangest or funniest flying experience?
FP: I was on a flight where the person next to me started brushing his teeth in his seat in the middle of the flight, and the guy in the row opposite me had purchased the entire row so he could do a meditation session that lasted the whole 7 hours of the trip.
If you could invent one innovation for flying/travelling what would it be?
FP: A system of laying out the seats so that everyone could lie down instead of having to sit for hours.
Money matters to everyone but it seriously matters when you fly almost every week. Any tips for finding the cheapest ticket?
FP: I often check cheapoair, they usually have much better prices than many of the websites I used to use. Sometimes it also helps to add a few miles to the flight. I definitely try to limit my baggage now that I'm back to a lower status on my air miles, which often saves me thousands of dollars a year.
Any good celebrity spottings?
FP: Rafael Nadal was on the same flight as me on my trip from Barcelona to Doha in 2014.
Jet lag tips?
FP: I sometimes try to stay up a bit later before I fly out and then sleep on the plane just to start getting my body accustomed to the time change earlier. I can sleep anywhere though, which many people can't do, such as sleeping on a plane. I could literally fall asleep with my head on a rock, so that makes it much easier to start the process earlier.
What was your worst flight and why?
FP: The worst flight I've had was my first trip to Melbourne. I had a connection in Hong Kong, and the flight that got me there was 16 hours straight. The flight was completely packed to the last seat, with less room between rows than usual. I was unable to move my knees around as the seat in front was too close, which isn't usually the case, as I am only 5'11, and at the time was probably a bit shorter. Many of the people came on the flight with all of their luggage, and there wasn't enough room for them to pack it on the flight, so many passengers had bags all around the floor and on their laps. This made a tight fit even smaller. Needless to say it was quite uncomfortable, and my knees and back were very thankful once the flight was over.
Who is the funniest guy on the tour?
FP: Gael Monfils has got to be one of the funniest, if not the funniest, guy on tour. He is always so entertaining both on and off the court, so nonchalant, but in a playful way.
Best airport experience?
FP: There haven't been that many great airport experiences. I don't have the status to use the lounges in most airports but I would have to say the Lufthansa lounge in Munich was quite nice. My former coach had a few extra lounge vouchers, so he offered me one. I had 3 or 4 hours to pass, which was a lot easier in a place like that.
Top 3 favorite cities and why?
FP: Vancouver, Melbourne, New York or Paris (tied). Vancouver is home for me, I spent the first 15 years of my life there. I grew up hiking, biking and skiing in the mountains and forests there, and generally being outdoors. Its nature is probably the most beautiful out of any city I've been to, and it is very unique in its layout as a city. The variety and quality of food you can get there is quite astounding. Melbourne is similar in feel to Vancouver, although a bit warmer and without mountains and large forests surrounding it, and the people are super friendly. The general atmosphere there is amazing, as well as the food. New York is an extremely busy, exciting city that never sleeps. To be there for a week or two is always quite fun, especially during the US Open. You will definitely never be at loss for things to keep you busy. Paris is one of my favourites because of how beautiful it is as a city. It is the stereotype of an old European city, which is a good thing. There is so much history here, in the buildings and museums for example. The food is out of this world, most definitely some of the consistently highest quality I've ever had.
What was your best flight?
FP: The best flight I've had was the only time I had ever been moved up to first class with seats that would lie completely flat during a trip in South America. Unfortunately it was only a two hour flight, so it wasn't as nice as it would have been on a longer flight.
FP: Any one of the Grand Slams.
What's your favorite Airline or Alliance?
FP: I have generally had good experiences with Air Canada and Lufthansa, their cabins are usually the newest with the most room and best entertainment systems. I still haven't been on quite a few of the other highly praised airlines, though.
Whats the best "Elite" perk when flying?
FP: I had only ever made the lowest level of elite, which by the time I had received it, was changed from Star Alliance Gold to Silver, so I didn't get as many perks as I would have had I reached it the year before. I would have to say that the extra baggage allowance would have to be the best perk I received. I didn't take the lounge allowance as it was restricted to the Canadian lounges, not international, at that status.
Ideal vacation spot after a long season?
FP: Anywhere warm with a nice beach and warm sea, or Vancouver to see my family.
I found Filip's answers to be fascinating. I can't even begin to imagine a sixteen hour flight under those kind of circumstances. One thing that was very surprising to me was that despite the fact that Filip flies nearly every week he is not receiving as many benefits as he should. The problem with flying on many separate carriers is that you earn a lot of miles but you aren't able to earn enough on a single carrier to unlock the greatest benefits like frequent upgrades, lounge access and priority security. Of course you can always check out our post on how to earn miles on one airline while flying many to figure out how to solve that problem.
Connect with Filip to follow his climb up the ATP World Rankings and see his travel first hand!
Do you have any travel related questions for Filip and future guests? What answer was most interesting to you?