Ernests ‘The Gull’ Gulbis is on the way up

Ernests Gulbis
By Ajay Singh, October 30th, 2008

Ernests GulbisAdd another name to the list of newbies that are being touted as the next generation of players to reach the top of their profession. Ernests Gulbis is a 6’3”, a 20 year old from Latvia who has raised some eyebrows with his 2008 performances at both the French Open and the US Open. He didn’t win either tournament but he upset a couple of seeded players along the way, and he came close to beating Roddick on his home court. Incidentally they both discovered after their match on August 29th. in New York, that the following day was their birthday. An omen of what, if anything, I’m not sure. Ernie, as he is nicknamed, has an impressive array of shots on both sides, and those soft hands that seem so important in potential winners. His talent is raw and natural and needs to be polished to advance him to the next level. He is coached by Karl Heinz Wetter. His lone victory on the ATP tour came in the doubles in Houston when he paired with Rainer Schuettler. He has represented Latvia in Davis Cup matches where his record is 7-7, 4 wins in singles and 3 in doubles. His success has advanced Latvia to the Tier 1 level of the competition for the first time in history.

His family is unusual by most standards. His Father is a successful investment banker and his Mother is a well known actress. Both of his Grandfathers were above average achievers in their chosen fields, one a Nationally ranked basketball player, while the other a famous film maker and director. He has a 23 year old sister, Eline, who has graduated as a lawyer from London, two younger sisters, Laura (14) and Monika(10) who are both playing tennis and a brother Kristops (16) who is attending the Saddleback Golf Academy in Florida.

Ernests has been ranked as high as 38th., but has dropped down to 54th. at the present time. He might finish the season in the top 50, and move on to participate in the 2009 Australian Open in January. The courts in Melbourne are his favourites and he is expected to do well. He is not to be taken lightly by any of his opposition. He has the game to beat any of them if they are just slightly off and expecting to breeze through to the next rounds. Ernie has a powerful serve that earns him lots of free points, it’s not unusual for him to serve four aces simultaneously in one game, he’s done this against some of the best returners in the game. His forehand is considered to be his most lethal, and is reminiscent of the forehand of James Blake. He has a deft touch, makes a lot of drop shots (maybe too many), and can also lob and volley with precision.

In the best mix of men players to have ever graced the tennis scene, it is so difficult to rise to the top, and even more difficult to stay there. Does Gulbis have what it takes? Only time will tell!


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