It’s telling, for me at least, that Ernests Gulbis’s racquet bashing during his second round loss to Alejandro Falla at the Farmers Classic, has generated more interest than Andy Murray’s tougher than expected match. Of course, it helps that Gulbis’s press conference afterwards generated some of the best one liners we’ve heard all year.
I was at the match and press conference and although Gulbis should have kept his cool better, I’ve seen worse displays of bad behavior on the court. In any event, here is a transcript from Gulbis’s press conference, in his own words. My favorite part of course is when answered my question about getting a point penalty with a now classic response about how umpires are like policemen.
Q: How would you describe your play today on the court?
EG: All down. From beginning to end. Down.
Q: What was your mind saying to you on court in the third set?
EG: Don’t die on court. I was so tired. I didn’t feel so tired, never. I think it’s because of the big break I had between matches. First round was also physical but this one was a joke. Like since the third set I got early break but still I was exhausted. It was really tough for me to go all the way.
Q: Is that why you trying to do a lot of drop shots?
EG: Yeah. Because I really physically couldn’t run anymore. I was trying to but I wanted to make the points shorter and I couldn’t make any winners today from any side on the court so basically nothing worked today. I was just running like I don’t know Spanish clay court players staying around on the baseline. Pushing the ball back. Women’s tennis.
Q: Would you say it’s more mental or physical or both?
EG: (pause) I don’t know. Mental physical everything. I didn’t play for two months. If you don’t do something for two months it is really tough. If you don’t fish for tough months then maybe you forget how to fish. Tennis is same way.
Q: On court you played pretty well in your first match so this must be disappointing.
EG: I didn’t play well in first match. I played well in clay court season. In first match also I was not attacking I didn’t play attacking tennis at all. I was falling back on my forehand. So I need to fix that. I play doubles here and play doubles in Washington to get a couple matches to stay on court. Doesn’t matter if I win or lose. Of course I’m upset that I lost but I’m not so upset because it’s first tournament and it’s normal. Coach told me it’s going to be tough first round doesn’t matter. I have to be ready for bigger tournaments Toronto, Cincinnati, U.S. Open.
Q: Are there any positives you can take out this week?
EG: Positive is that I played more than two hours in a match and sweat a little bit also when you practice you cannot lose your weight so fast and when I play I lose a couple of kilos, not much maybe three kilos but it affects your body. But when you practice you cannot. Think I lost maybe half a kilo today so that’s positive.
Q: Surviving all those match points was that also a positive?
EG: Yeah it was really surviving. It wasn’t winning but it was surviving. What can I say I lost today. Not a positive but there is doubles tonight.
Q: Gulbis when you were given the point penalty for tossing the racquet did it surprise you at all?
EG: No it didn’t surprise me because his only fun in life is to give someone warnings.
This referee his only purpose in life is to give somebody warnings. He is like a police officer when they see a car they stop it and they have so much fun to give you a ticket. In Latvia, I stop where you cannot stop and they have a smile on their face as they give me a ticket, ha. Same with this guy. Whatever I would do I would get a warning. Even before the match I knew so.
Q: Were you concerned about getting another penalty in the tiebreaker?
EG: He wouldn’t do that cause if he did that it would be pretty bad. Come on. People pay money to come to see tiebreak. And then one guy comes and does that. People enjoy it. Come on. Seven six in the third. Doesn’t matter what kind of tennis. They paid money to see the tennis it wasn’t best tennis but it was a good fight. I broke racquets but still I think they booed me but honestly they enjoyed it. People have emotions and everything is positive in that and if you disqualify me in the tiebreaker he would be really stupid.
Q: Do you know if there’s a rule about if you throw your racquet on match point?
EG: There is no rule there is just there is a rule…actually I don’t know the rules. (audience laughter) No. No. One thing I know if you break a racquet and then you change it immediately without not playing one more point. That’s a warning. But if you throw a racquet that is for the umpire to decide.
Q: We lost count. How many did you break?
EG: Just two. (audience laughter)
Q: Seems like you were getting upset with some people in the stands or something else. Was something else bothering you besides you weren’t playing well?
EG: No. I was not upset but I don’t understand why people have to talk or scream during a service or before service. They have to understand they paid the money to come out and enjoy tennis. But they also have to understand that this is our job we get money for it. It like us going to work. And I’m not going to their work and not when they are writing on their computer or whatever and I’m not screaming in their ear something to distract them (audience laughter). Not that’s there has to be balance. Of course emotions and everything but come on. When I throw the ball up and somebody behind me does like some stupid sound like (burr) or something, of course I get upset because I hear it. If it’s more people you don’t notice it because it’s too many sounds. You hear every single things and moving so sometimes it’s distracting.
Q: You said before you don’t like to spend too much practicing. Is it because you’re having too much fun with your life right now?
EG: Yeah big big fun. I go now to hotel to lay down and then come back here for doubles and then I go back to sleep and then come back out for more practice. Most fun. When you are in tournaments there is no fun. It’s just day by day practice. Of course I don’t enjoy spending time playing practice with my coach because I like competing. More matches I can compete better. For example I was in Buenos Aires training for two weeks and then it was really tough for me because I was really anxious to come here because I cannot spend a lot of time without matches.
Q: How do you deal with fans playing Davis Cup when on the road because they can get more rowdy than in a regular match?
EG: (pause) I get pissed. I break racquets. (mild laughter)
Q: What kind of expectations do you have Ernests for the U.S. Open upcoming? Do you have any set goals for yourself?
EG: Hmm. My biggest goal is just to get back my form. Get back my confidence which I had in clay court season. To win couple matches. That’s it. I don’t have a goal to be the quarters or semis. No. I just want to get my game together and when I get it that’s it. Anything could happen. Even if I lose first rounds everywhere just for the U.S. Open when I come and if I play good then I’ll pass many rounds.