By Romi Cvitkovic
What comes to mind when you hear the name Ernests Gulbis?
Natural talent with a massive serve and forehand? Hot-headed and tempered? Countless racquet smashes and use of profanity during match play? Whatever your answer, one thing is for certain: Gulbis is endlessly entertaining.
Along with some of his more impressive quotes from the past here and here, below is a sampling of Gulbis’ best and most wackiest moments from this past week at Delray Beach — sprinkled with some quotes from his exclusive interview with TenniShorts.
The champion of racquet smashes
In his second round win over Sam Querrey, Gulbis changed racquets at least a dozen times for various reasons — and among them was one of his enraged racquet smashes early in the third. He then went down 0-4 before climbing out to take it 7-6(4) in the third.
Did he just diss … Roger Federer?
After losing his cool in the third set versus Querrey, Gulbis commented on his frustration about being unable to maintain his early advantage, as well as pique at some line calls.
“You like (the outbursts), everybody likes it. I think tennis has lost a little fire. Which interesting characters do we have nowadays? Everybody is trying to be like Roger (Federer). Look back 20 years. They gave interesting interviews, they gave a show on the court. It was fire. I’m not scared to show my emotions.”
Talking trash about the top 100
“I was really getting pissed to see who’s in the top 100. There are some guys who I don’t know who they are. Some guys, I’m sorry, with respect — they can’t play tennis.”
“I don’t know how they got into the top 100. It’s tough, but I think I’m much better than them and I just want to prove to myself by the rankings, also. It’s a motivation.”
“I dropped out of the top 100 which I always said it’s not possible. I proved to everybody that it is possible (laughs). I watch the rankings … believe that if i play my best game I believe I can still make it into the top 10. I don’t know when it’s going to be — this year or next year — but I’ve set my goals.”
An f-bomb followed by some more choice words
After a bad miss during his match against Querrey, Gulbis dropped an f-bomb and was rewarded with a point penalty by the chair umpire. Recognizing his own inadequacies as well the chair umpire’s, Gulbis barked back a few choice words as he walked away from the umpire’s chair.
“You’re shitty at your job. I’m shitty at my job.”
When you can’t perform, just blame your head
In his on-court interview after his win over Querrey, Gulbis admitted that his racquet was fine (despite the smashes and throws) and that it was all mental.
“The racquets and strings were perfect. It was issues with me and my head … I was really pissed off that I couldn’t close the second set. I lost my concentration.”
On not being polite to everybody
Always a raw personality in tennis, he commented on whether he would like more players to have his fiery and honest attitude.
“I’m good alone. Thank you (laughs). I feel good alone. I just (say) what’s on my mind — not really paying attention to being maybe polite to everybody. I just say what I think. If I think that I’m better than (you), then I say it. If I think I’m worse than (you), I say it also. I don’t think think it’s much to do with interesting personalities, just being who you are. And that’s what I believe in.”
He doesn’t care what you say but won’t judge you either
Gulbis has always been a popular topic among fans and media for his cycles of intereste for tennis followed by disinterest. So what does he think about all the things people say about him being an underacheiver?
“I don’t care what people say because I never judge nobody in my life. I never was in anybody’s shoes, (and others have) never (been) in my shoes. They don’t know how I practice, how I don’t practice — I always practice hard … Just that the things outside of the court sometimes I tend to screw up. Now, I’m not doing that anymore. Now, it’s good from both sides: I’m practicing still hard and I’m doing better off court.”
“So, about talent, it’s all relative. Who cares about talent if there’s no hard work? What are you going to do with your underachievers? I don’t want to be one of them.”
After 8 years on Tour, Gulbis finally “really wants to do this”
Admitting to his party-boy ways on more than one occassion, Gulbis has recently stated he is recommitted to tennis with his increased dedication to practicing and fitness work.
“Before, I didn’t understand the game, I didn’t understand why I’m doing this honestly. I didn’t have any particular goals. And now since the end of last year, I’ve set certain goals for myself about what I want to prove.”
“This is the first year I really want to do this. I’m starting to enjoy tennis much more … I had a couple of good wins and enjoyed it. Then I went on the wrong path and was doing wrong stuff for my game.”
“Now, I want to play maybe five more years and do the best I can.”
And in case you’re not familiar with Gulbis’ loopy windup forehand, check it out below. It’s been a bit re-mastered since his 2010 days with his left hand taking on a life of it’s own apparently.