Ernests Gulbis: “I went to play blackjack. They asked me how much I lost. I said, A lot” - UBITENNIS
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Ernests Gulbis: “I went to play blackjack. They asked me how much I lost. I said, A lot”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 25th of June. S. Stakhovsky d. E. Gulbis 6-4, 6-3, 7-6. An interview with Ernests Gulbis

 

Q. I know you know him quite well and I’m sure you were expecting him to be serving well. You barely had any looks at his serve. What was making it tough today?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Today he served well in the match. Nothing was working from my side. Two of my biggest weapons, my serve and return, wasn’t there.

Especially the serve. I couldn’t get any free points from my serve. There is different reasons because of that. I don’t want to get into details because of that.

Sergiy, a lot of credit to him. That’s why he beat Roger last year. That’s why he beat Roger last year on grass. The guy has a good game plan. He comes in; he chips the ball; he takes out the pace.

I just wasn’t hitting the ball well enough today.

 

Q. With your serve, do you feel that grass should be a surface that you’re comfortable with?

ERNESTS GULBIS: In a way, yes. But, you know, grass is very specific. With these Slazenger balls, they don’t take so much spin. You know, even the baseline game, when I spin the ball, the ball collapses. It slides off the strings.

I have the feeling it’s like that. Maybe I’m not explaining it perfectly, but you have to hit the ball much flatter. The serve also. It’s different. It’s just different.

I served really well last year and two years ago in couple matches. Let’s say against Berdych I served incredibly well. But always on grass I played one good match then I play next one bad.

You know, I wasn’t consistent enough. I don’t have a consistent game yet on grass. I need to work on that.

 

Q. How important was it at 3b#All in the second set? It was obviously a game you survived a lot of breakpoints and then the two double-faults at the end. From the outside you appeared to get quite angry after that. It took you a while to get back in your groove.

ERNESTS GULBIS: No, I was back in my groove straight after that. Of course I was angry. Who likes to lose a break in such a game? On the ad court, if you saw the game, I was serving three aces in a row.

The deuce court I was doing stupid stuff. The guy puts the ball in, I was doing stupid stuff. That’s frustrating. On clay for me it’s easier. Somebody puts the ball back, and if I don’t feel the game, if I don’t feel my shots, I can go for a rally.

I go for a rally and I hit the ball higher over the net, and somehow I start to find the game.

Here everything is much faster. You have to be more aggressive. That’s what I didn’t do today. I didn’t come in enough. I pay the price. I lost in three sets.

I didn’t have really big chances to win.

 

Q. How would you describe the response to the umpire/vampire comments?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Was there some response?

 

Q. What have you heard from people?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Nothing. Nothing. No, I don’t have friends on tour. Nobody talks to me about it (laughter).

Honestly, nothing. But I understood the guy wrong, so what’s the problem?

 

Q. This spring you’ve had quite a run in France: gambling, vampires, an early loss here.

ERNESTS GULBIS: What kind of gambling?

 

Q. You gambled your winnings…

ERNESTS GULBIS: That’s bullshit. You can write it. That’s bullshit. If you do your job better, then you’re going to know what I said exactly. I never said something like that.

People try to get words out of context, and sometimes they even dream something together. I answered it.

 

Q. You didn’t gamble your winnings at the blackjack tables in Latvia?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Of course I went to play blackjack, but there was no word how much I won or how much I lost. They asked me how much I lost. I said, A lot. I was joking. I was smiling. There was one-on-one interview.

Next day in Latvia they say I lost all my winnings. My mother sends me message next day asking am I – maybe I’m a little bit crazy, but I’m not stupid.

 

Q. I was wondering if you rather want to get back to clay tournaments or like disconnect a little bit from tennis and get back to Latvia and disconnect?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Yeah, I’m going to probably take some weeks off, and probably I’m going to start only in Toronto because my body needs rest, and my mind needs a little bit rest.

It’s more my body. I have a little bit some problems here and there after Paris, yeah, so I’ll have probably 10 days off and then start practicing again. So good two, three weeks of practice, then going to USA.

No tournaments on clay. No.

 

Q. Was your back bothering you today?

ERNESTS GULBIS: A little bit the back and mostly the shoulder. Shoulder, yeah, it was a little bit sore. But it’s not a big problem. Just sore.

 

Q. I meant trying to break through against the top four at majors. What is it like for all the other guys given their dominance over these last nine years?

ERNESTS GULBIS: The match against Djokovic showed me a lot and taught me a lot. Even the way I felt mentally, that I was really, really nervous and really anxious to play the match, I saw that he was feeling the same, you know.

I thought that I’m the only one who is really, really tired because of the conditions. It was much hotter than the week before. It was heavy weather.

After the second set and third set I saw that he’s feeling the same, so I saw that he’s not so extremely much better physically. He’s probably better and that’s why he beat me, but not so much better that I didn’t see any reaction from him, you know.

He also got emotional. I had a feeling that I can get there if I have more chances to play against these guys in these kind of matches.

It’s really tough to just start from nowhere and just win a Grand Slam and just be in final.

For example, for me it’s important to play a couple quarterfinals, a couple semifinals, then to make the next step, you know, just to get my confidence on that level.

Then maybe we can talk about of me breaking up the top four or something like that.

 

Q. Victoria Azarenka said on Monday you and her talk about fine art.

ERNESTS GULBIS: We had a nice dinner. She didn’t tell you how she lost to me in table tennis? She bragged all evening about how good she is in table tennis, but then I showed her who is the true tennis table champion.

 

Q. On the same night?

ERNESTS GULBIS: On the same night. We had a nice visit. She has a table tennis at home. I know Vika for a long time. She’s a really good friend.

Yes, she told me she was interested in painting herself. She was telling me about stuff what she was painting. It was really interesting, but it wasn’t really long conversation. We just touched the subject. We have a lot more interesting stuff to discuss about, but it’s not for the press.

 

Q. Do you have your own art collection?

ERNESTS GULBIS: My family has, yes. Like Latvian artists, yes. Nothing else, but Latvian artists.

 

Q. Any particular artist?

ERNESTS GULBIS: There’s a lot. You don’t know the names. Rozentals, you know, classic artists. You have different stuff.

For me, Latvian art, it’s a mixture between Russian and European school. Unfortunately, Latvian art hasn’t been so much work put into their marketing to make it bigger, you know, because it’s not really worse than, let’s say, some really great Russian artists.

So first time actually it was here in London. It was four years ago when they had their week of Russian art in Sotheby’s and Christie’s gallery. They asked my father to help them out.

It was the first time in history two Latvian painters were sold in this auction. They asked for his help to put the nominal price just help out Latvian artists.

So, yeah, he’s doing a lot for Latvia, but only for Latvian art. He doesn’t collect nothing else.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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