• ATP Tour

Gulbis: Murray and co are 'boring'

ESPN staff
May 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Ernests Gulbis wants tennis to appear more like boxing © Getty Images
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Ernests Gulbis has slammed the game's top four players, stating the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are 'boring'.

The Latvian opened up to French newspaper L'Equipe, saying that pre and post-match interviews should be conducted more like boxing.

The 24-year-old believes that fans want to see more outbursts on court and insists that he has no interest in 'appearing nice'.

"I respect Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak [Djokovic] and [Andy] Murray but, for me, all four of them are boring players," Gulbis told L'Equipe. "Their interviews are boring.

"Honestly, they are no good. I often go on YouTube to watch interviews but with tennis, I quickly stop. It is a joke.

"It is Federer who started this fashion. He has a superb image of the perfect Swiss gentleman. I repeat, I respect Federer but I don't like it that young players try to imitate him. When I hear them answer like Roger, I am terrified by phrases like 'I had a little bit more success at certain moments and that is how I won.'

"I have no interest in appearing nice. On the court, it is a war. Off court, no problem. I have a good relationship with most of the players. But I want to say what I think. And if my prognosis is that I am going to win the match, it doesn't bother me to say so."

World No. 40 Gulbis wants to see tennis ditch a polite and civilised image, citing the sport is lacking such passion and emotion when two fighter's prepare for a bout. The three-time ATP tour titlist maintains that, in order for the sport to change, the top players must first alter their approach.

"I would like interviews to be more like in boxing. OK, maybe those guys are not the most brilliant on earth but, when they face each other down at the weigh-in, they bring what the fans want. War, blood, emotion.

"That's missing in tennis, where everything is clean and white with polite handshakes and some nice shots. The people want to see broken rackets and hear outbursts on the court.

"The system is much too bureaucratic. It would need that the top players agree to change things. But they are rather happy that the smaller players are treated badly and that they don't have enough money to pay for good coaches."

World No. 2 Murray issued a light-hearted response to Gulbis' tirade, saying: "To be honest, over the years I have found it difficult to open up and be a bundle of laughs in press conferences or interviews.

"I always try to give honest answers, but they are fairly boring so I don't have to deal with the aftermath of any scandals.

Ironically, 17-time grand slam champion Federer insists that 'boring' answers are often given in press conferences to avoid controversial topics.

"Our interviews are not always the most exciting," Federer said. "But that's not just our fault, that's the machine.

"After each match, we have to give press conferences. But also you cannot say anything you do not like about something to someone without being totally criticised by many people. Therefore, everyone is very careful."

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