Ernests Gulbis

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does beating him at the French give you more confidence coming into today?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Yes. Yes, I think so. Because I haven't played against top 10 players so much in my career, so beating one of them, of course, gives me more confidence.
But I knew that he's a tougher opponent on hard court than he is on clay, so I was a little bit nervous. But as the match went on I played pretty well in the beginning. I lost my concentration in the second set. But third set, yeah, you saw it, I mean... so I'm happy about it.

Q. If Djokovic advances, having played him tough at the French, do you feel good about your chances against him?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Yes, that's what you call experience, you know. I had my experience in the French where I played against James, and now if I play against Novak it's much better that I lost to him there. Then I would play him first time here. So this gives me, I know how to play against him and I will not feel so nervous like I did in the French, so I think it's going to be okay.

Q. You mentioned that you lost your concentration in the second set. How much does that happen for you?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Actually pretty often. Pretty often, because I always, when I win first set I'm a little bit looser and I think that second set is going to be easy. But against tough opponents like Blake, you cannot lose concentration not for one second. He will take a break and that's it. Set can be finished. So I'm pretty much working on it right now with my coach, to be mentally stronger.

Q. Do you think that's just because you're a young player and eventually it'll go away?

ERNESTS GULBIS: It will not go eventually away if you do nothing. If you do something it will go away. So I think I'm on the right way, and I think it'll go away.

Q. Where would you rank this win among your career wins?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Well, for me, every win is special, you know, because I haven't had so many wins in my life. Anyway in a big stage like a Masters tournament and first time in quarterfinal, of course it's a really big win for me. But to rank, I don't want to do it.

Q. Did you think you would be in a Masters Series quarterfinal this soon in your career?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Well, to be honest, I didn't think that it'll happen in this tournament, because last week I played really bad. I lost match which I were supposed to win. I lost from 5-1 in the third set. And I was injured before, so I didn't do nothing basically for two weeks. So I was feeling really physically tired last week and playing bad, but when I came here I was practicing a lot with my coach trying to get my feeling back. First round was tough, but as I went further in the tournament, yesterday already I played good and today I think I also played good. So I think tomorrow can be even better.

Q. Many people say that you will be in top 10. How much longer do you think you'll be in there, and is top 10 enough for you?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Well, a goal for any tennis player is to be No. 1. That's the big goal, you know. But to be honest, I don't think which place I'm in rankings right now, because I think about the way I play. If I play good then the ranking points will come sooner or later.
For me, it's important to play better now than I did month ago, you know, so I don't stop in my progression. That's what's important right now.

Q. Is there any pressure on you to get there as faster as some players got, like Nadal and Djokovic?

ERNESTS GULBIS: No, no pressure at all. I'm different player. Everybody is different. No pressure.

Q. In the match against Clement your backhand didn't work good and there were many unforced errors from that side. Today was completely different story. Did you practice this shot before the match?

ERNESTS GULBIS: To be honest, no, I didn't practice the shot. For me, it's still, I'm in the stage of my career where I have really ups and downs where I can play one day good and the other day I go on court and somehow I don't know what's happening, you know. But it's now anyway better than it was before, because one year ago I could play one match really good and the other match I could lose easy playing terrible. Yesterday it was really tough match physically for me. It was the first three-set match which I played no, I mean in Montreal, (sic) but I wasn't physically ready for it. So I was really dying on court yesterday. But today I felt really good physically, so yeah.

Q. Given your history with Novak, does that make it easy or harder to play him?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Well, the thing that I played him in Paris, it really helps me. If I play him tomorrow, because I don't know if he wins. Seppi is a tough opponent. I think it's going to be a close match. But if he wins, then this Paris game gives me a little bit advantage because I will not be maybe so nervous as I was in Paris. Now I know a little bit more how to play against him, so... But, I mean, anyway, playing against No. 3 in the world, you know, anything can happen. I can lose also easily. I will try not to.

Q. You talked a little bit about Latvia earlier this week. How popular do you think your success is making tennis in Latvia?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Of course it makes it more popular than it was until I started to play, because before me the top-ranked player was around 300 only.
Now people are investing more money in tennis and building new courts. Slowly, because Latvian government gives to tennis Federation almost nothing until now.
I hope it will change because they will see that somebody is successful for a small country like that. I hope it will change. But to be honest, I'm not so much in Latvia all year-round. I'm practicing in Vienna. Before that I was practicing in Munich. So in Latvia I haven't really practiced and I haven't really felt the tennis court atmosphere in Latvia.

Q. I wondered if it means a lot to you that a player like yourself beat the last American in this tournament. The United States has always invested a lot in tennis, and as you said, Latvia hasn't invested much.

ERNESTS GULBIS: To be honest, I don't really care about nationality. It's me who's playing James Blake, you know, and I don't think about if he is last American in the draw or not. I just try to win everybody who is against me. The rest I'm trying not to think about so much, because it can put some extra pressure or something, some unwanted emotions, you know. So I'm trying to distance myself from it.


Q. Will you call or text many people to tell them what you did today?

ERNESTS GULBIS: No, nobody. Nobody. I will call my mother and that's it. Because if somebody wants to know they can know, you know. But why should I call everybody and tell I won?


Q. Your mom will be happy, huh?


ERNESTS GULBIS: Yes, of course.


Q. What was the injury before Toronto?

ERNESTS GULBIS: I twist my ankle. I was playing football in Latvia with my friends and I twist my ankle. I went to Båstad. I thought it was going to be okay, but I went on court and I couldn't play. I left the next day back to Latvia and basically didn't do nothing. You know, I was pretty tired emotionally after Wimbledon, and I wanted to relax all together, so I didn't do so much physical preparation at all. But now I feel pretty good again.


Q. What does your coach think about you playing football?

ERNESTS GULBIS: He allows me, of course. What can you say? Because I really love football. But it was really bad accident because nobody hit me on purpose or something like that. Nothing like that happened. It was really just unlucky. It wasn't serious twist. It was something strange, because after three, four days I could already move without pain.
But, yeah...


Q. Do you play a lot of other sports, basketball hockey, anything like that?


ERNESTS GULBIS: Basketball and football.


Q. Basketball is big in Latvia?


ERNESTS GULBIS: Yes.


Q. Did you play basketball growing up?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Of course we have in every neighborhood some courts. You go with friends and you play in school. Basketball, that is like the most popular sport in schools. But to be honest, I like football much more. Every time when I'm in Latvia I just go with friends and we play football, so...  

 
 
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