Ernests Gulbis: “I wouldn't like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It's tough choice of life” - UBITENNIS
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Ernests Gulbis: “I wouldn't like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It's tough choice of life”

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 30th of May 204. E. Gulbis d. R. Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. An interview with Ernests Gulbis

 

Q. This is the first time in 24 slams you made the second week.

ERNESTS GULBIS: First time in like seven years I have been in this room (laughter) as a participant, not a spectator.

 

Q. Does it feel like that long?

ERNESTS GULBIS: I’m back.

It is that long. Last time I was playing quarterfinal. That was when I was 18 years old.

 

Q. How pleased are you with the way you played today?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Today I’m very pleased. Today I served well. He had only one break point. Served, yeah, average, one to two aces a game. Any opponent is going to have trouble with that.

I was surprised he didn’t change up the return a little bit, but, yeah, the serve was working today, so that was the key.

 

Q. And the fact that you played a tournament and won and came in here, a lot of people think when you win a tournament the week before you’re going to be tired. But is having one day in between the matches the key?

ERNESTS GULBIS: It helps a lot. And also, I was a bit tired when I came here, you know, but I had a tough first set against Kubot. He played well, but I wasn’t just there, you know. It was good that I won the first round.

Every match basically has been better, better physically and better game wise. Today was the best match in this tournament.

 

Q. Why do you think it has taken you so long to be sitting in that chair again?

ERNESTS GULBIS: You know why (laughter).

 

Q. Well, maybe you just remind us, me.

ERNESTS GULBIS: Well, I did a lot of bad decisions career wise. Maybe not even just bad decisions, but just not paying too much attention to the things what I do, you know, not paying too much attention how to treat my body, how to practice, how to    just overall, you know. Whenever I was in practice, whenever I was on the court or in gym or in the track, I always work hard.

But the things around, surrounded that, the planning, too much up and down, not enough consistent work. Basically last two years it’s been more or less the most consistent work which I did.

Before that, you know, I had consistent, let’s say, three months of work, but then again something happened or I got sick or went to Latvia and took stupid ten days off, you know, by not doing completely nothing.

These kind of decisions, which were just wrong, you know. And now nobody even needs to tell me, tell me this, I know exactly what to do even in my days off, you know. That’s the biggest difference.

Yeah, thankfully it took me not longer time, you know. Basically I jumping in the last train. I’m 25, so this was my last opportunity to be really successful, I think, and I think I have good seven, eight more years to play in the top level.

 

Q. Lately, and especially today, you have been really focused from first point to last point, no outburst, no racquet smashing, no nothing. Have you worked on it, or is it just coming with the win and the confidence?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Just the way I play. You know, if I play like this, what kind of outburst can be there?

You know, I felt everything good today. You know, I felt physically well. I felt not so much pressure as first two rounds, because the first two rounds I was clearly the favorite. Against Radek, he’s experienced guy, of course I was also the favorite, but not so clearly. It takes a little bit the pressure out.

So I didn’t feel that much pressure. I felt relaxed. Next round if I play my chance, if I play Roger, it’s going to be even less pressure and I think I’m going to feel even less relaxed and play even better.

It’s always like this with me.

 

Q. When you think back to the times of bad decisions, do you regret that or do you think it’s something you needed to go through?

ERNESTS GULBIS: I don’t regret it at all, because I think in a way I’m in a better position. Maybe not as a tennis player but as a person. Because I have been through up and down.

Most of the guys who are on top now, they haven’t been a lot in down. They haven’t went back from playing quarterfinal from a Grand Slam asking for a wildcard in a challenger and not getting it, you know, playing qualifying in a challenger, you know.

And the attitude, how it changes a lot, from everybody, you know, from the working stuff, you know, from the tournament, from the referees, from everything, you know.

And I saw it. So now nothing can really, you know, blur my mind and my vision, you know. I’m not going to be now suddenly, you know, friends with everybody, you know.

I saw the tough picture, you know. People like success. You know, okay. So I know everything about it. So I think in a way I’m in a better position.

 

Q. You have two younger sisters that play tennis, as well. Are they going to be as good as you? When was the last time you played with hem?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Hopefully they will not pursue professional tennis career. Hopefully. Because for a woman, it’s tough. I wouldn’t like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It’s tough choice of life.

A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you’re playing professional tennis, you know.

That’s tough for a woman, I think.

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Denis Shapovalov Battles Back To Reach The Quarterfinals In St Petersburg

The Canadian got off to a slow start in his first match but was able to recover nicely for a big three-set win.

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Second seed Denis Shapovalov needed to go the distance at the St Petersburg Open to beat his Spanish opponent Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in one hour and 49 minutes.

 

The Toronto native didn’t have the best start to the match but was able to recover and pull off a comeback to take the win. Serving a total of 11 aces to reach the quarterfinals.

” It’s very tough to play Pablo (Andujar) first round of a tournament, he’s a great player and it was a tough start to the match,” said Shapovalov. “I didn’t feel so great but I just told myself to keep going because obviously there is still a lot of tennis to be played and I wanted to turn it around in the second set and I did a really good job.”

It was the Spaniard who got off to a better start, earning a breakpoint in the first game of the match before grabbing the early break and he was able to consolidate it. At 2-0, Andujar had two chances to go up a double break but the Canadian saved both and it stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 92 was able to earn another breakpoint. This time converted for the double break lead and served out the first set.

The second set stayed on serve until 2-1 when Shapovalov broke to love and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve it out and send the match into a decider.

The Canadian continued pushing as his level improved. In the first game of the final set, he broke the Spaniard with a perfectly timed cross-court winner to take an early 1-0 lead. After consolidating the break he was hungry for more and broke Andujar’s serve once again to go up a double break. Shapovalov closed the match out with a bagel set.

During his on-court interview, Shapovalov was asked how happy he was back to be in St Peterburg and he mentioned the amazing memories he had playing in the event last year.

” It always feels great to be back and I remember last year playing Andrey (Rublev) in the semifinals. I was one set up and I lost this match but I am happy to be here due to the fact I always get great support from the fans here”. He said.

Shapovalov will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarterfinals after the German upset seventh seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets (6-4, 6-3).

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Former World No.8 And Grand Slam Champion Jurgen Melzer Retires

Melzer ends a career which has seen him crack the world’s top 10 in both singles and doubles.

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Jurgen Melzer (AUT) - Alexander Zverev (GER) vs John Peers (AUS) - Filip Polasek (SVK), (Erste Bank Open 2021 #glaubandich Court); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger,

After more than two decades on the Tour, Jurgen Melzer has played his final match after bowing out of the Vienna Open on Wednesday.

 

The 40-year-old confirmed earlier this year that he would end his career at his home tournament. Teaming up with Alexander Zverev in the doubles, the duo lost in straight sets to third seeds Filip Polášek and John Peers. Melzer is a two-time champion in Vienna after winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He later went on to win the doubles title in 2014.

I was a bit afraid that not so many would come after all. Thank you very much, it was a huge honour for me to leave here,” Melzer said during his on-court interview.
“He (Zverev) didn’t hesitate five seconds to play here with me, that is not a matter of course when you’re at number four and you’re close to the Masters. Unfortunately, it was a short undertaking, but thank you.” He added.

Melzer first rose to prominence as a junior when he became the first Austrian to win the Wimbledon boys’ title back in 1999. He would go on to play in a total of 53 Grand Slam main draws during his professional career with his best run being to the semi-finals of the 2010 French Open. On the ATP Tour he claimed five titles with his most prestigious being at an ATP 500 event in Memphis during the 2012 season.

Against top 10 opposition, Melzer has beaten every member of the Big Three at least once. The most notable being against Novak Djokovic where he battled back from two sets down to stun the Serbian at the 2010 French Open. Overall, he recorded 13 wins over top 10 players during his career.

“My career started here (in Vienna) on an international level almost 22 years ago, in 1999 here in the town hall, where for the first time I was allowed to dream of really going the way as a professional tennis player. 22 years later and I would have signed everything, what I have achieved. It was an unbelievable journey that ends today. That I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

It wasn’t just in the singles where Melzer enjoyed success on the Tour. As a double player he achieved a ranking high of sixth and won two men’s Grand Slam titles with Philipp Petzschner, as well claiming the 2011 Wimbledon mixed doubles trophy with his ex-wife Iveta Benešová. More recently, Melzer reached the final of the 2020 ATP Finals alongside Édouard Roger-Vasselin. That was to be the last Tour final of his career.

“Of course you still hope to be at the top, but at some point you will be realistic enough to be able to assess that it will not be enough. It was an unbelievable journey that was a lot of fun. It is over, but it is also good that way.” He concluded.

Whilst his time on the Tour has come to an end, Melzer will remain involved in tennis. He is currently working as the Sports director of the Austrian Tennis Federation (OTV). A role he has held since January.

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