Outspoken Latvian Ernests Gulbis is apparently targeting the No. 1 ranking after an impressive 7-6(5), 6-4 win today over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Marseille final.
“My long-term goal in tennis isn’t to be Top 20,” Gulbis said. “It’s to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn’t make me fully satisfied. I don’t want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn’t make something of it. Everybody’s looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.
“I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I’m aggressive, then it’s tough to play against me. I don’t feel I’m in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.”
Entering the tournament the 23rd-ranked Gulbis had just a 12-38 record against Top 10 players. And he hasn’t made it to the second week at a Grand Slam since his 2008 French Open quarterfinal.
Gulbis did beat three Frenchmen en route to the indoor title. In the quarters he ousted Nicolas Mahut before knocking out Top 10s Richard Gasquet and then Tsonga in the final.
The win also keeps Gulbis at a perfect 5-0 in ATP Finals (7-0 including doubles), and moves him on the cusp of breaking the Top 20 rankings for the first time in his career.
“I’m very happy right now, but the reality is that you’re back on court in two days,” Gulbis added. “I want to keep both feet on the ground. There’s a couple of big tournaments coming up. It’s been a great week, but I want to build on it.”
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