Ernests Gulbis blasted Canadian fans, calling them “stupid” and saying they conspired against him Friday in his quarter-final loss to crowd favourite Milos Raonic.
“They’re used to hockey here, it’s okay,” Gulbis said of the jeers he received through his 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4 loss at the ATP Tour Rogers Cup.
“But I don’t understand why you need to clap for a double fault. There can be emotions, but I think it’s stupid.
“I can’t call a thousand people stupid. But it’s something that I don’t understand. That’s why all the Canadian players, they play always very well in Canada.”
Latvian Gulbis, who is ranked 38th in the world, criticised some of Canada’s professional players for only playing well at home and not travelling outside of the country to compete very often.
He said world No. 13 Raonic is the exception.
“Honestly some of them – I guess you know who – they don’t play really nowhere else,” the 24-year-old Gulbis said without naming names.
“Milos is a great player. But the rest of the guys, they play great in Canada because it’s like Davis Cup every match. People are clapping after a double fault, before a second serve to provoke a double fault. I don’t think it’s nice.
“The crowd is very well educated. They know exactly what to do in the right moment to screw up the other player’s game.”
Gulbis wasn’t especially pleased with his effort on the court.
“The feeling is bad. I don’t know if the match was very interesting to watch. Maybe it was interesting because of the emotions, there were a lot of tight points.
“It was the best match because both of us, we didn’t give each other any rhythm. He’s serving big. I’m serving big. I got the ‘love’ from the crowd and I turn it around and made it into positive energy – but honestly.”
A record five Canadians made the second round in Montreal. Raonic’s win sets up an all-Canadian semi-final featuring Raonic against Vasek Pospisil.
It will be the first meeting between Raonic and Pospisil in an ATP Tour tournament.
Novak Djokovic returns to tennis for the first time since Wimbledon as the Serb begins his bid for a third straight title when the Montreal Masters begins on Monday.
Djokovic has not played since losing the Wimbledon final to Andy Murray, the second seed who will also be testing himself for the first time in a month since making history with his title at the All England Club.
Missing from the field will be two-time champion Roger Federer, the world number five, with the Swiss apparently unable to overcome the back spasms which bothered him in recent weeks as he played for the first time in years at clay events in Hamburg and Gstaad.
ATP number five Federer gave no precise indication of why he will not make the trip to start his pre-US Open campaign, saying only: “I am disappointed not to be playing in Montreal next week. It is a great tournament with amazing fans. I look forward to competing there in the future.”
Also pulling out was wild card Gael Monfils, who had the misfortune to injure his ankle while training at the tournament site in Canada.
American Mardy Fish, never the same since his heart-scare incident nearly 18 months ago, withdrew for “personal reasons”.
Serb Viktor Troicki and Croatian Marin Cilic, both under clouds for alleged violations of the tennis anti-doping policy, are not included in the field for the first major tune-up prior to the US Open which begins August 26.
Troicki has been banned for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample to drug testers, but he says the testing personnel told him he didn’t have to and he plans to appeal.
Murray and fourth seed Rafael Nadal both got in hits in Montreal with Frenchman Richard Gasquet, with Murray building for the first grand slam title defence of his career in New York where he finally made his breakthrough at a major at the US Open 11 months ago.
“I think I persevered, that’s really been it, the story of my career. I’ve had lots of tough losses, but the one thing I would say is I think every year I always improved a little bit,” the Scot said of his ever more impressive resume.
Murray lifted the Montreal honours in 2009 and 2010 but lost in the third round a year ago to Canadian Milos Raonic.
The top eight seed receive byes into the second round, with Djokovic playing the winner of the first-round match between Australian Bernard Tomic and Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Murray will line up against either Grigor Dimitrov or Marcel Granollers, who reached won the claycourt title in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Saturday.
Spain’s David Ferrer is seeded third, with Czech Tomas Berdych fifth behind Nadal. Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro is sixth, with Gasquet seventh and Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka eighth.
Roger Federer’s recent woes continue after he was forced to pull out of next week’s Masters event in Montreal due to injury.
The world No5 admitted after losing his first match in Gstaad last week following disappointing defeats at Wimbledon and Hamburg that he was struggling with a back problem.
Today Federer announced he would not be playing in Canada, saying on his Facebook page: “I am disappointed not to be playing in Montreal next week. It is a great tournament with amazing fans. I look forward to competing there in the future.”
Back problems are nothing new for Federer, and it appears his decision to play two clay-court tournaments after Wimbledon has backfired.
The Swiss star is enduring his worst season since before he won his maiden grand slam title at Wimbledon a decade ago.
After a second-round defeat by Sergiy Stakhovsky at the All England Club in June, Federer announced he was taking the unusual step of playing in Hamburg and Gstaad.
He trialled a new, bigger racket during the tournaments but if he was looking to restore lost confidence, it did not work, with Federer losing to Federico Delbonis in Germany and then Daniel Brands on home soil in Switzerland.
If the 31-year-old – he turns 32 next week – does not improve his form soon, he is in danger of sliding further down the rankings, with Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro not too far adrift.
Missing Montreal will not cost Federer in itself because he also missed the tournament last year following his run to the Olympic final. But he won the Masters event in Cincinnati the following week and is now under pressure to do well again there.
There were fears when Rafael Nadal lost in the first round of Wimbledon that his knee problems would rule him out of the start of the hard-court season but he is already practising in Canada.
World No1 Novak Djokovic is the defending champion, while Andy Murray will play his first match as Wimbledon champion.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew on Wednesday having failed to recover from the knee injury he aggravated at Wimbledon, while Gael Monfils, Mardy Fish, Viktor Troicki and Marin Cilic have also pulled out.