The transformation of Ernests Gulbis from party boy to Grand Slam contender has been one of the most interesting stories developing these two weeks in Paris and the Latvian now declares he is officially “addicted to success”.
Gulbis, who will make his top-10 debut when the new rankings come out on Monday, was unable to bring his A-game against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals yesterday as he admits he is not used to playing against top players on the major stage.
But the 25-year-old Latvian believes he is on his way to the top and that this year’s Roland Garros was a great stepping stone.
“I’m not going to celebrate,” said Gulbis, adding that the maximum he would do is maybe enjoy a cigar with his coach.
“It’s not enough. I need to reach more now. Now I’m addicted to success.
“Again, I felt so close to success, and I won’t say that I let it slip these two weeks, because it’s great to play a semi-final.
“I need to make this extra step now. I’m extra motivated.”
Asked where he believes he is heading, Gulbis said: “All the way, to No1.”
Despite the disappointment of losing in four sets to Djokovic, Gulbis says he can still take some positives from the match.
“I’m not used to playing these kind of big matches. It’s just normal that I felt extra nervous and extra tense,” said Gulbis, who was playing the first Grand Slam semi-final of his career.
“I can take one positive out of the match – that I could still win a third set feeling that nervous and that tired, and I saw that he was
feeling the same. So it’s not only me.
Gulbis, who is the first Latvian man or woman to make the semi-finals of a major, was philosophical in describing his overall feelings about his two weeks in Paris.
“I enjoyed it. Can I say that it was only positive emotions? No,” said the No18 seed.
“It was a lot of tension, a lot of nerves for me. As soon as I won a match, I felt really good for the next hour, but then I already started thinking about the next match and the tension didn’t let go.
“My overall experience is that I understood it much more than I did the previous time I was in second week of a Grand Slam (in Roland Garros in 2008). That time I reached a quarter-final and I had no idea what was happening.