Quotable Quotes: Fame fame baby the fame fame.
In the last 6 months, Gulbis has gone from my good books to probation, and now to the trash. Never mind that he forgot to turn up to a tournament late last year, his recent interview with the Daily Telegraph and the Times induced a steady flow of bile from me.
“The fire in me is that I want to prove to myself that I can do it, that I can be at the top. I don’t care about money, I don’t care about fame. I don’t like money and fame, I don’t need them and I’m not living for them. I don’t know if I like or love the game so much.
“I enjoy competing. I don’t like practising. When I’m on court and it’s a competition, I enjoy it. I enjoy having a goal. When you reach a goal, it’s OK, but also an empty feeling. When I won my first ATP tournament this year, I was happy for maybe 10 minutes, and that was it. Then I had an empty feeling,” he said.
“My career from then has been up and down all the time — a good experience, a bad experience, an interesting experience; I’ve played good, I’ve played terrible, I’ve played incredible, again terrible, but it’s my lifestyle because I am not a big fan of practising. I cannot stay on court more than two hours. I got totally pissed off today during practice because I had to be there more than one hour. I was frustrated because I couldn’t do any more. I like to compete, I like to play matches, that’s what I’m about. I don’t like to practise at all and that’s the reason why I wasn’t consistent during these years.”
“Now I’m happy, it’s more stable. I’m still doing a lot of stuff which isn’t good for a tennis player. I stay up late, I go out.”
But is that not what 21-year-olds do? “Yes, but maybe not so hardcore,” he says, the mischievous grin resurfacing. “I know I have a lot of talent and what else am I going to do with my life right now? I can go study, I could go help my father [Ainars, one of Latvia’s richest men]. I have a lot of interests except tennis, but at the moment this is the best thing I can do with my life. Even if I don’t always like the life on the tour, I still love to compete and I think sports overall makes you a better person.
On his supposed similarity with Safin:
“He is Russian and I’m a quarterRussian. I’m into Russian culture and when I came to the tour, we became friends,” Gulbis says. “I’m going to Moscow to visit him and he is going to come to Latvia for the summertime and I’m going to show him around. It’s better I am similar to him than some other boring persons.
“If you are bored with life, you are too stupid to think of something to do. If I’m alone in a room, I have at least four stable things I can do. I can read, [go on the] internet, listen to music, watch a movie. You have a choice. Boring is not a problem for me. I can have fun with myself. I don’t need thousands of people around to entertain me.”
And then, there was this subtle dig at “boring people”.
For the most part, Gulbis has the sense that his fellow professionals are unexciting or that that is what we have allowed them to become.
“One of my small hobbies is to watch a lot of interviews on YouTube,” he says. “Unfortunately, the sportsmen interviews, they are so boring because they are asked the same questions, all the time. ‘How do you feel after winning?’ ‘Well, I feel great, thank you.’ It’s a joke. To read this in a newspaper is a joke, you spend your time for nothing.”
It could be that I am wonderfully immune to rogues – looking at my taste in male players, I do seem to go for the good (and totally corruptible) boys rather than the ones that were corrupt to begin with.
I liked Safin, but I was never his bitch. And I’m not sure that I even buy into the Gulbis/Safin parallels. Marat’s problem was never that he hated practicing, or that he lacked commitment, or just didn’t care. His problem was that he cared too much, and became the harshest critic of himself as a result. But what would I know, right?
What I do know is that I have no time for womanizing brats without a trace of commitment or focus, viewing the world with a sense of overwhelming entitlement.
Why should I care when you don’t? I was brought up to follow the “3 Steps to Head Bitching“: setting goals, working hard, and kicking ass, and I have little respect for those wishing to skip the first two steps.
I’m sure I’ll have a lovely flux of Gulbis fangirls here shaking their indignant fists at me. But you heard me – tennis is not so desperate for the next Marat or Goran that they’ll settle for any pretender, and a world so ready to treat laziness and disrespect as ‘different’ and ‘interest qualities’ in a person is equally deserving of my trash.