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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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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