Outspoken Ernests Gulbis is stuck in yet another poor stretch. The Latvian who beat Roger Federer en route to the semifinals of the French Open last year, just lost yesterday to Denis Istomin in Dubai. The loss dropped Gulbis to 0-5 on the year and it was his seventh straight defeat dating back to last fall.
“I’m not in good form right now,” Gulbis said. “I’m not feeling my shots at all. I have no timing. In practice I have been playing worse than in the match.”
Gulbis, though, says he knows what’s wrong with his game but he admits he has trouble adjusting his game.
“I know exactly what I need to change,” Gulbis said Monday. “I don’t have the tools how to change it, what exercises is necessary to do to change these things. If I watch myself from the side, if I watch video of myself playing, I can tell you exactly what I did wrong there, wrong there. I see my mistakes pretty well. For me it’s very hard, always was. Some players, like Federer I think is a clear example how he can change his game even during ‑‑not even during one match but during one game. He tries a lot of different things. He changes, and that’s why he’s that good, because he adjusts himself very well.
“For me, it’s very difficult to adjust myself. For me, it’s a matter of finding this feeling and then continue to work on it, you know, to get the repetition on it. I’m like a repetition kind of guy. I need to find the feeling, and then play many, many hours the same shot. Then I get confident. Then I feel fit. Then I feel like the ball comes and I’m not gonna miss it. Now I feel the ball comes. It’s a 50/50 chance and I don’t really control my shots. This is the worst feeling to be on the court with.”
Gulbis says the recent losing streak isn’t keeping him up at night, but it is worrying him.
“It worries me because (tennis) is a big part of my life,” he said. “It’s probably the most important short‑term goal of my life to become the best I can be on the tennis court. It worries me, definitely worries me.
Does it keep me awake in the night? No.”
Gulbis added that he arrived in Dubai missing his luggage. His racquets made it but not his shoes. And he revealed why he doesn’t take his racquets as a carry-on as many players do.
“I hate to travel with my racquets on me when I travel, because I don’t like when everybody knows that you’re a tennis player,” he said. “I try to hide this fact.”
After a brief stopover in Latvia, Gulbis will head to Indian Wells where he hopes to get things right.
“I’m seeded there. Maybe I’m going to play even Thursday or Friday, so I’m having maybe not two full weeks but close to that. So I’m going to dedicate at least 10 days. You know, 10 days of good practice, you can change something.”
The 26-year-old Gulbis is currently ranked No. 14. Last year he made 11 quarterfinals and won two titles in Nice and Marseille.
Remarkably, Gulbis is a perfect 6-0 career in ATP Finals.
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