US Open 2014 – Ernests Gulbis: “I completely swap his rhythm and his vision of the court” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Ernests Gulbis: “I completely swap his rhythm and his vision of the court”

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TENNIS US OPEN 2014 – 27th of August 2014. E. Gulbis d. K. DeSchepper 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. An interview with Ernests Gulbis

 

Q. Pretty relatively easy time returning a big server. Only one ace.

ERNSTS GULBIS: I played with him in Queen’s. He served much, much better. But it helped me that we played in evening. Especially in the end of the second set, when it just became dark, when the light started to be a little bit stronger, when you toss the ball you lose it a little bit for a while. I think that’s his biggest problem, so that’s why he serves a lot of double-faults. Also I felt if I change a little bit the position of my return, I completely swap his rhythm and his vision of the court, so…

Q. It worked.

ERNSTS GULBIS: It worked (smiling).

Q. What has Gunter brought to you specifically for this tournament?

ERNSTS GULBIS: For this tournament? Nothing (laughter). We were practicing really hard because I skipped the tournament after Wimbledon. I took some time off because I needed it. After Paris probably I didn’t feel it at the first, but probably a little bit overexcited after that result. So I needed some time off. I took two weeks off and then I started to practice. We had a good mid-season preparation, similar stuff we did in the end of the season. In November and December, we did similar stuff now. I hoped for better results in Toronto and Cincinnati, but my game just wasn’t there. So here the first couple days of practice I was struggling a lot with my game. Yesterday I took a day off. Today before the match, you know, I started to hit the ball really well. It’s in the last moment basically the game came together.

Q. All because of Gunter?

ERNSTS GULBIS: If you say so. I have no problem with that. I’m looking for result. Whoever makes it happen, it’s good.

Q. On the technical side of your forehand, I know…

ERNSTS GULBIS: I have no idea. Honestly, I have no idea (smiling).

Q. I know you haven’t maybe broken it down or don’t think about it, you just do what you do.

ERNSTS GULBIS: You’re right. You have the answer already (laughter).

Q. Here is my question specifically. If you have no answer, you have no answer.

ERNSTS GULBIS: Okay.

Q. You start here, but before you hit, you take it to where everybody else does right in here with the elbow in.

ERNSTS GULBIS: Basically for style. What I do here is just for style (laughter).

Q. Just for style points?

ERNSTS GULBIS: Yeah, just to be different.

Q. How did that come about? Did you one day just start doing that?

ERNSTS GULBIS: You play the best tennis when you don’t think. It’s simple. Whatever comes out, comes out.

Q. Your coach didn’t say, What the heck are you doing?

ERNSTS GULBIS: No. He likes my forehand. I like my forehand.

Q. It’s a cool forehand. It’s unusual. Maybe some coaches would have said something.

ERNSTS GULBIS: No, no, no. I just pay no attention to it. I play like I feel. Again, the best is when you play from your subconscious and when you don’t think. You cannot think on court. You don’t have time. You just have to react. And, yeah, technique. You can work on certain things, but I definitely didn’t work that my forehand looks specifically or better or worse.

Q. What did you learn about winning six matches at the French, or playing six matches?

ERNSTS GULBIS: The biggest lesson I learned was that in semifinal against Novak that he felt similar to me. You know, it wasn’t that I walked up on court against somebody who is overwhelming me with confidence. He’s been there a lot of time. But anyway, every time is something different. Every semifinal, every final is something different. Final I never was, so I wish that I can experience that. But just to understand that you can be on the same level, that was the biggest lesson. Because I was feeling extremely tired because of the heat and because of the condition that day, because it was really humid and hot the first day of the whole two weeks. He felt the same. The first two sets I lost. I thought, That’s it. The guy is a machine. But in the third set I saw him already breaking down the same as I did. So that’s it about me. Yeah, even more confidence.

Q. A question about your formal education. When did you stop attending school on a regular basis? Did you finish the equivalent of high school independently?

ERNSTS GULBIS: Yeah. Well, I was going to school on a pretty regular basis until grade nine, so that means after nine years. The last three years of school I did in a sports school where I just had to do all the exams and all the studies. Like let’s say you have points what you need to get. So, yeah, last three years. Last three years was different. But in the end anyway, you have to make all the exams and all the tests. By Latvian law, you have to make it just to get a diploma, same as everybody else. It’s just I was lacking just the school time, you know, just lessons. But I was taking private teachers. It is different. It is different and difficult at times. My mother was very strict about me studying and not putting it aside.

Q. In a match specifically.

ERNSTS GULBIS: In a match specifically? No. In a match specifically, I don’t think so. In the life on road, life on tour, you know, the less you think, it’s easier. You don’t think, you just do. You wake up in the morning, you go to practice, you eat, you sleep. It’s just part of a routine. When you start to question yourself, Why am I doing this? What are my true goals in life? What is my true motivation? Then you start to question, Why am I doing this? I’m going to be 30 years old, and I’m still warming up like a 10-year-old kid, you know, playing balls, running around. Why? For what? For example, for me I have to remind myself What is my true motivation.

Q. I remember an interview with you talking about Dominic. You said you were giving him a lot of advice. It was some time ago. What is your relationship now? Are you a teacher for him?

ERNSTS GULBIS: I never said that I’m teacher, but we have a good relation. He gave a lot to me by helping me to practice. Because if I see young guy who is so motivated and so eager to practice, you know, let’s say I have to be not worse than him, so I push myself even more through that. When he saw me pushing more, then he was pushing more. It’s a win-win situation.

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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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