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“If you don’t fish for two months…

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Originally published on: 30/07/10 11:14

Ernests Gulbis may have to tread carefully on the ATP Tour for the foreseeable future – and around those on the WTA Tour in fact, if his path is to cross with any female players anytime soon.

Featuring in his first tournament since injuring his hamstring at the French Open, the emotional Latvian screamed, roared and chucked his stick to all corners of the court on the way to a three-set defeat to Colombian Alejandro Falla at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. And in the aftermath of his McEnroe-esque display, the 21-year-old compared his underwhelming performance to his female counterparts.

“Nothing worked today,” said Gulbis after his 4-6 6-3 7-6(8) defeat. “I was just running like a Spanish clay court player standing on the baseline and pushing the ball back. Women’s tennis.”

Gulbis didn’t stop there. Warned numerous times for on court petulance, the world No.28 saved up some choice words for chair umpire Fergus Murphy, after the Irishman handed him a point penalty for flinging his racket into the net.

“This referee – his only purpose in life is to give somebody warnings. He is like a police officer; when they see a car they stop it and they have so much fun to give you a ticket,” Gulbis said.

“In Latvia, I stop where you cannot stop and they have a smile on their face as they give me a ticket, ha. Same with this guy. Whatever I would do I would get a warning.”

Asked if his racket-breaking behaviour merited disqualification, Gulbis replied:”He [the umpire] wouldn’t do that. People enjoyed it.

“It wasn’t the best tennis but it was a good fight. I broke rackets. Okay, they [the crowd] booed me but I think honestly they enjoyed it. If he would have disqualified me in the tiebreaker it would have been really stupid.”

Falla, who burst to prominence after taking Roger Federer to five sets in the first round at Wimbledon, took advantage of Gulbis’ tantrums. “It helped me a lot,” said the 26-year-old. “He gave me a few chances and I got them. I was just trying to return aggressively and be aggressive from the baseline.”

The world No.65 will face Britain’s Andy Murray in the last eight, after the Scot defeated American qualifier Tim Smyczek in three sets.

As for Gulbis, who slunk out of the Los Angeles tournament with his tail between his legs, the Latvian blamed a lack of match practice for his irate display.

“If you don’t do something for two months it is really tough,” he said. “If you don’t fish for two months then maybe you forget how to fish.”

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