Latvian Subverts - Ernests Gulbis

gonna be a big star in years to come. Falcon

has just beaten james blake (usa). no. 7 seed at the french open.

just read this review of his match against tommy robredo (no. 8 seed) at the us open 2007.

Quote: my unabashed fandom of ernests gulbis has come under some serious heat – and for good reason – recently on some tennis message boards around the internet. i only say for good reason simply because his results have been dismal in 2008. when you’re not winning, people hop of the bandwagon faster than an andy roddick first serve.

i understand why people don’t understand why i’m head-over-heels for gulbis’ tennis game. not only have his results this season been nothing to write home about, but other than a fourth-round appearance at the 2007 u.s. open and a few solid performances in challenger events, the 19-year-old has not done much to make a name for himself.

with that said, i feel it’s necessary – as someone who witnessed the greatest three sets of gulbis’ tennis career from the front row - to provide a bit more explanation regarding said infatuation.

let me start by pasting the comments i wrote on my blog immediately following the match (u.s. open 3rd round: ernests gulbis d. tommy robredo 6-1, 6-2, 6-3):

“ladies and gentlemen,

i witnessed every stroke of this match from the front row of the grandstand right behind the baseline.

it was the most shocking display of tennis i have ever witnessed and i am not kidding.

i had heard of gulbis just a little bit prior to this match, and my brother i don’t think ever had. we were watching warmups and were already thinking, ‘wow, this could be a good match.’ then we saw serving warmups and thought, ‘good lord, this could really be a good match.’

the first set was nothing short of complete shock and awe. all we could do was just laugh at how ridiculous gulbis was. i literally had to bury my head in my hat during some points because i was just laughing. completely and utterly ridiculous.

and it never changed. the whole entire match was complete and utter domination. several times robredo looked at gulbis and smirked in disbelief. other times he resorted to banging rackets against the wall and kicking trash-cans.

robredo was completely shell-shocked, as was i, as was the entire grandstand crowd.

at changeovers during the 3rd set almost the entire crowd stood up and chanted ‘ernests, ernests, ernests’ or ‘gulbis, gulbis, gulbis.’

a brief analysis of all aspects of gulbis’ game:
1st serve: unbelievable
2nd serve: better than most players' first
forehand: one of biggest in the game
backhand: solid, hits it one inch from the opponents' baseline every single time
volley: unbelievably solid
return of serve: flawless, blocks it deep with backhand, punishes it with forehand
drop shot: by far the best on the pro tour
style of play: everything. everything flawless. has more variety than anyone other than federer. he can destroy you from the baseline, comes into net a decent amount and does so at all the right times. uses drop shot to perfection and comes in behind it.

i'm certain i will never see anything like this match ever again. i might see tennis as good, but absolutely never anything like that again from a 19-year old who i've barely ever heard of.

actually i'm still in shock - and showing no signs of coming out of it.

clearly i was still on a different planet while writing the above comments, but it really was just about that out-of-control. now that my descent back to earth is complete (as that match took place six months ago), i am not quite as blinded from reality. his second serve is not “better than most players’ firs,” his drop shot is not “by far the best on the pro tour,” and his style of play is not everything “flawless.”

still, he is not just some young flash-in-the-pan that many uninformed fans make him out to be. the biggest knock on gulbis is that he is – and this one of my favorite terms - a “brainless ball-basher.” it’s true, at many times this youngster does resort to brainless ball-bashing. like a young marat safin, he often tries to blow people off the court with monstrous serves and forehands without any remote indication of tactical thinking.

the match against robredo, however, proves that he is capable of not only playing overwhelming tennis, but also smart tennis. on serve he went for it all with his first balls, knowing that he could afford to miss more than a few since robredo was doing nothing against his second offering; and he didn’t go for too much on second serve (not one double fault), understanding that his opponent was standing extraordinarily far behind the baseline so he could take control of the point just by spinning it in. once the rallies got going, gulbis consistently chose the perfect times to go for winners. he would work robredo’s backhand over and over again with topspin deep into the corner of the ad-side of the court, and when finally the spaniard floated a short ball back, gulbis would step in and smash a forehand cross-court winner. or – having pinned robredo several feet behind the baseline, he would dropshot. he followed those drop-shots and approach shots into net at all the right times and put away volleys with textbook technique and incredible ease.

now i fully recognize the validity of dissenting arguments. robredo, of course, is bordering on being nothing more than mediocre on hard courts; always has been and especially is at this point in his career. there are also countless up-and-comers right now with lethal serve-forehand combinations.

looking back on it, i think it’s not so much the quality of tennis that i witnessed (although the quality very well may have been the best i’ve ever seen live), as the shock factor of the tennis i witnessed that sent me into such an altered state.

perhaps i'll see another display of tennis as good as what i saw out gulbis for about 90 glorious minutes that sunday night, but i'm not sure. what i am sure of is that i'll never be as shocked watching a tennis match - or probably any sporting event period - as i was during that display. it came completely out of nowhere. like i said, most of the grandstand crowd had ever seen or heard of gulbis when he walked onto the court. just two quick sets later, almost everyone in the grandstand was standing up during changeovers and chanting his name. craziness! ah, the u.s. open.

in closing, i admit the performance had me blinded from reality for quite some time. gulbis’ ascension is not going to take place overnight. he’s just 19 and it is going to take some time before he harnesses the power and turns it into controlled, tactical aggression. until then, he will most like put up largely inconsistent results: a few incredible performances en route to big upsets, mixed in with too many error-filled matches leading to horrific losses.

give him time, folks. give him time. and while you’re at it, go see him play the next time you’re at a tournament. you might see a loss, but in the process you might see enough flashes of brilliance to convince you to hop on the bandwagon.

tennis is silly :P

It's not silly.

Modern remixes of classic jungle tracks are silly.

This is just pure class.


Concept81 Wrote:It's not silly.

Modern remixes of classic jungle tracks are silly.


bigup latvians!

heh nice1!
but our beer are better than this DD
dubstep promoter

that reminds me of tuesday's football friendly match between Czech and Lithuanian NT.
The stupid organizators mistook Lithuania for Latvia so that the official bulletin was full of info on latvian team and they even played latvian anthem before the match!
cunts Hahaha

illnoir Wrote:that reminds me of tuesday's football friendly match between Czech and Lithuanian NT.
The stupid organizators mistook Lithuania for Latvia so that the official bulletin was full of info on latvian team and they even played latvian anthem before the match!
cunts Hahaha

Estonian flag seems to confuse people a lot - gets pulled up upside down. and if i'm not wrong, there has been cases of mixing Estonian and Finnish anthems (probably cause they are the same tune :P )

ba55tech Wrote:but our beer are better than this DD

dream on Teef

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