Is Ernests Gulbis ready to enter the elite league of men's tennis?
Born on 30th August 1988, Ernests Gulbis has long been regarded as a huge underachiever. And his explosive tennis talent is almost as eye-catching as his tendency to give quotable quotes to the media. Never shy to express his opinions, he once infamously called the “Big four” of tennis boring, adding that they were not like him, and only said what they were supposed to say instead of what they felt like saying.
When he beat Ivo Karlovic to win his first ATP Tour title at Delray Beach, many said that “Ernie” had arrived. However, it took him a year and five months to get his next title, the Farmers’ Classic in Washington. All through this, he kept being compared to Marat Safin both on and off the court, which says a lot about his potential.
Gulbis is regarded as a player with immense tennis but has often been criticized for his attitude and “laziness” on court. However, despite being written off time and time again, he has frequently bounced back to claim a spectacular victory, only to disappear again. Ernie has victories against the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Last week, Gulbis picked up a win at the “Open 13″ in Marseille, beating Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis and finals respectively. Heading into the tournament, the Latvian was 4-0 in tour finals. At the end of the week, he was 5-0. Granted, they were all ATP 250 events, but his record shows that Gulbis has what it takes to get the job done when it matters most – on the final Sunday. He has now broken into the top 20 in the rankings with his victory in Marseille.
During the post match interview in Marseille, Gulbis once again showed his ridiculous expectations of himself, saying he wanted to become World No. 1 and that top 20 didn’t mean much to him. He said that anything less than World No. 1 would leave him unsatisfied. However, shocking as it may sound, he admitted he was not in the same league as the guys at the top yet.
Is it Ernie’s time to enter that league?