Re: Ernests' news thread!
Okay, here's the translation of the article. I tried to do it pretty accurate but it's not perfect.
By Rolands Norietis
Ernests Gulbis, who is still without a coach after splitting with Austrian Karl-Heinz Wetter, has decided to prepare for the French Open under the guidance of his former coach Niki Pilic.
"Ernests asked me if he can come and train for a week after Madrid in my academy, and I immediately agreed," the famous Croatian tennis guru said.
Gulbis is playing in Madrid next week, but he doesn't have any tournaments in the last week before the French Open (which begins on May 24th). It's important to have good practice before season's second Grand Slam, therefore Ernests has decided to ask for help his former coach who has an academy near Munich. "The next day after his loss to Kiefer, Ernests visited the academy and played some football. We agreed that he will come and practice here for a week after Madrid," Pilic confirmed. "It's very important for him to arrive in Paris in his best possible form. This tournament is especially important for Ernests because last year he reached the quarterfinals in Paris and he has to defend a lot of points."
In Munich Gulbis will be hitting with other academy students who already have some ATP points, or possibly with Matthias Bachinger who lives nearby and occupies the 245th place in the ATP ranking. Gulbis has had practices with Bachinger already before.
Pilic said that Ernests was not satisfied with his play after his loss in Munich's first round to German Nicolas Kiefer. "It's a pity he couldn't win, he was leading 6-2 and 3-1. He made too many unforced errors after that point. Ernests told me he lost the feel of the ball. He was a little unlucky in the third set when he had a break point to go 3-1 up. They had to replay the point which he had practically won. If he had managed to get to 3-1 perhaps he would have beaten Kiefer, but in any case Ernests was not satisfied with his performance."
When asked about reasons why his former pupil hasn't been getting past the second round of a tournament for a long time, the 69 year old coach was tolerant. He said that every tennis player experiences drop of form after great tournaments. He also described Gulbis's potential: "His potential is huge. Everyone says that but nobody knows it better than me because I was with him for 6 years. I remember very well how he beat Robredo two years ago (in the US Open), and I know Ernests can play on this level. But he has to work hard for this to happen. It all depends solely on him, on how much he wants to work for his improvement."
Pilic also has an opinion on why Gulbis is avoiding the press so much (we already wrote that he declined a post-match press conference in Munich): "Ernests is a nice guy but the fact is that he is from a small country which has never had a player in the top 50 before. Ernests is not the sort of person who likes to boast about his success, he's a little shy in this sense. I'm a bit different, I've always had a good relationship with the press. Also now the press is different from when I was playing. In those days we traveled together, ate at the same table, we were joking around and playing cards. If I played bad and a journalist wrote it, I wasn't angry about it. But now, during the last 10 years I've read at least 3-4 interviews I didn't give. The last one was published only two months ago."
In Pilic's opinion, Gulbis needs to find an experienced coach with whom he can find common ground and work well together. It's not easy to find one, as illustrated by Federer who has been coachless for several years already. Gulbis was Pilic's last student with whom he went to tournaments together, and after splitting with Ernests Pilic has decided not to coach anyone full time. "I've spent so many years traveling that I don't want it anymore. Even if Federer asked me to become his coach, I'd go with him to 8-10 tournaments in Europe, nothing more."
Still, it's noticeable that Pilic's relationship with Ernests is special and they have remained friends. Pilic was present at the Kiefer match and also the second round match in doubles. For now he's not thinking about coaching Ernests again but he says: "He was training for 6 years under my supervision, and it was a great time for both of us. We started at the bottom, and he got to the 46th place in the rankings." He also confirms that he'd go to Roland Garros with Ernests if Ernie expressed such a wish.
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