Friday, February 19, 2010


So, I'm a little late, but whatever. Ernests Gulbis totally won two matches in a row! And he beat a seeded player!

Let's all take a moment to process that.

It was very popular to tout Gulbis as the Next Big Thing a few years ago - 2008 was a good year for him. He reached the quarter finals of Roland Garros and generally was awesome. Then he opened 2009 with a win over Djokovic... and did pretty much nothing from then on out. And then 2010 didn't exactly open with a bang, considering he lost to Juan Monaco in the first round of Australia, spraying some number of errors so huge I can't even remember what it was.

Suffice to say, the once-packed Gulbis bandwagon is now rattling along pretty emptily. But I'm still on it.

I couldn't really tell you why. It's not like the last year or so has given me any glimmers of hope. But there's something about Gulbis's game that I really dig, and even though he's spraying a ton more than he did in '08, I think the bare bones are still there. He probably qualifies as a late bloomer now (provided he, you know, blooms) but I still believe that Gulbis can be awesome. This victory over Stepanek doesn't suddenly herald a huge resurrection or anything, but I'm really hoping that this is the glimmer of hope I've been waiting for.

What does Gulbis need to do? Well, stop making so many errors, for a start. As far as I know, he's still working with Niki Pilic - it might be time to break the bonds and fly free. What I would really like to see is Gulbis working with wondercoach Larry Stefanki, but I don't know if Roddick will give him up so easily. But a change in coach and the ensuant breath of fresh air would be good for Ernie, I think. It's time to change something up, because what he's doing now clearly isn't working so well.

I used to say that Ernie would be top ten for sure. I still think he can get there, but 'sure' is a strong word. However, what I really want to see is a tournament win. Don't care which tournament. Any will do. Just give me something, Ernie. It's lonely up here on your bandwagon all on my lonesome.

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