Ernests Gulbis Thinks He Can Beat Nadal Today At Indian Wells
by Tom Gainey | March 13th, 2013, 8:59 am

Outspoken Ernests Gulbis is back in the spotlight. The mercurial Latvian has won an alarming 13 straight matches which includes a Delray Beach title (as a qualifier) and then five matches this week at the BNP Paribas Open. The 24-year-old who has some of the explosive power on the tour now faces Rafael Nadal today, and the Gulbis sounds ready for the challenge.

“I think the way I play right now, that should make a difference. I believe that I can win,” Gulbis said Monday after beating Andreas Seppi.

Gulbis, though, is 0-4 against Nadal, but has won at least a set in three of those losses. And despite the poor record against Rafa, he feels it’s a good match-up for him.

“I like to play against him because his ball and his heavy spin, it’s good for my timing,” he said. “I don’t like when the opponents hit flat, deep balls. I like the opponents hit spin, high balls. It’s easier for me to control them. So honestly I like to play against him. I just wasn’t able to keep ‑‑ let’s say I had close matches. I had three sets twice, and just in the third set lack of experience, lack of fitness, lack of everything, you know, and then he just broke me down. You know, when I play him now I know how he plays. And of course he’s a great player, but I believe ‑ honestly I believe ‑ that if I play my best game I can beat him.”

While the odds are against him, Gulbis is quick to point out that right now he’s never played better. He also thinks that if he’s striking the ball the way he has been he’s almost impossible to beat.

“I’m telling you, if I’m going to hit a winner it’s gonna be a winner,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s gonna be Nadal or whoever. I’m going to go for my shots, and I want to see that. Of course it’s maybe is going to take me more than one shot. Maybe it’s going to take me two shots. But I’m going to be ready for it. One shot one corner, one shot other corner. I want to see him get it.

“Reality is that I won 13 matches in a row and that I’m playing Nadal.”

Reality will set in later when Gulbis faces 2-time Indian Wells champion Nadal in maybe the biggest match of his career. Nadal, who has reached the semifinals or better the last seven years at Indian Wells, is playing just his second hardcourt match in almost a year.

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15 Comments for Ernests Gulbis Thinks He Can Beat Nadal Today At Indian Wells

nadalista Says:

Nothing wrong in Ernests believing he CAN win tonight. Whether he WILL win is another matter. We gonna see, no?

roy Says:

obviously it’s a good match up for him because he’s had close matches. but he didn’t lose because of lack of experience etc., he lost because if your game style is going for broke, you have to take the errors too and over the course of a match you often won’t come out on top.

for these types of players their ‘best tennis’ is hitting lines all day, barely missing, and anything short of that is just not playing their ‘best tennis’.
you can’t expect to consistently play ultra risky and not make large amounts of errors.

that’s why gulbis hasn’t been successful, because tactically he’s a joke.
he lost to roddick in a close usopen match during his rise and his attitude was, ‘this is my style’. (playing high risk).
well how’s it worked out all these years, party boy?

disciplined aggression is what separates the consistently successful ‘aggressive’ players from people like gulbis and other lashers, who on a good serving day can take out some great players but over the course of the season run into the law of averages. gulbis is the perfect example of how tennis is so much more than great technique and shotmaking. with a different approach and mentality he could have been a top player. but he’s clearly a cocky, lazy idiot.

it’s not going to be a huge surprise if he beats nadal though. if he serves well and hits some big shots on some return games – easier to do with nothing to lose – and if nadal sprays the forehand like he did against harrison, gulbis could obviously win.

but what would it prove anyway. it’s nadal’s second hard court match. and gulbis will come down from his confidence run and return to being a safin wannabe. i don’t think it’s a key match in his career. years ago he beat federer and only won 2points less than nadal in a clay match. flash in the pan. his career is perfectly consistent with his game style.

skeezer Says:

hahaha…this sounds like a Tomic.

Sirius Says:

“if I’m going to hit a winner, it’s gonna be a winner….
“doesn’t matter if it’s Nadal or whoever”

okay, perhaps it doesn’t matter with the current Nadal. But don’t say it doesn’t matter if it’s WHOEVER. When u are playing Djokovic, he might put back every shot u intended to be a winner:)

RZ Says:

Regardless of the result, I hope the new and improved Gulbis shows up on the court tonight and takes it to Rafa. He may or may not win, but at least give it a good match.

Margie Says:

maybe it can be a good match gulbis like you said, but YOU NEVER EVER can win rafa nadal!!!
good luck rafa….

skeezer Says:

Same here.

MMT Says:

roy: I think you did a great job explaining Gulbis and players like him – couldn’t agree more. I think you did an okay job of disguising your irritation at the pluck of his comments ;-).

rogerafa Says:

Gulbis seems to be more committed and determined than he was in the past. I get the feeling that he wants to do something more meaningful with his career now. I saw some of his matches this year and he did appear more focused. Rafa is in a different league though. This surface suits him much much more. I think the “new” Gulbis can be dangerous for anyone on a very fast court.

scineram Says:

Just shut up and do it!

Wog boy Says:

He Talks the Talk but can he Walk the Walk …
I don’t think so, we will find out soon.

alison Says:

I think this is the diference between the greats of the game like Roger/Rafa/Nole,and their young pretenders,as they choose to let the their tennis rackets do the talking,great champions know when their hot and know when their not,and they also know that they dont need to brag about how good they are as the records speak for themselves,Gulbis and Tomic could learn a thing or two from these great men of tennis.

mat4 Says:


It seems he could walk the walk…

Wog boy Says:


So far, yes.

kriket Says:

Wow, first time I watch Rafa playing in a long time! Guess it’s gonna get (even) more interesting. Looking forward to RG!

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