He always had this confidence about him that you could say that, even though he was 14, 15 at the time, he was going to become something big.''And then you evolve, you start to understand, Okay, first, make one step. Just miss three days of practice and then two days and then one and then nothing. It’s a process.'He said: 'Today everything was good. It wasn't so long ago that the Latvian government used to give the country's tennis federation an annual budget of less than £5,000, which would buy you about five minutes of Brad Gilbert's time. Sport in Latvia usually involves an ice-hockey puck, a basketball or a bobsled, and so it's hardly that surprising that Gulbis is the only Latvian man or woman to have swung a racket at a grand slam."With that money, you can't organise two tournaments, you know," said Ernests Gulbis, a baby-faced 19-year-old from Riga, after he yesterday made the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time. Britain's Andy Murray launches an autobiography, Hitting Back, this week, but the 21-year-old is yet to reach the last eight of a slam, something that Gulbis achieved here at Roland Garros when he crunched France's Michael Llodra in straight sets on the Suzanne Lenglen Court.
At times, Gulbis sounds as though he has stepped straight out of that teen film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.Martina Hingis The ‘Swiss Miss’ entered her first tournament aged 4 and spent 209 weeks as world number one.But the tennis prodigy soon earned herself a reputation as a spoilt brat.Gulbis knows he prefers partying to practising, which is probably why he is No 31 in the world rankings and not in the top 10, where he would surely be if he could match his talent with the necessary application. But when I play badly, starting to win again is the biggest issue." The past 15 months illustrate his point."I enjoy playing points in practice and competing, but day-by-day drills, day-by-day baskets, gym – no," Gulbis said. I can put my music on and just think my own thoughts. But I can't really push myself to practise at the same level for a really long time." He admitted: "I'm a guy who goes up and down. In February 2010 Gulbis won his first title at Delray Beach.