I've mentioned it a few times around the Forum,but since I dont ever get bored of repeating it I'll do it again here
My introduction to Ernests was a very fortunate one. I'll explain. The day before I first saw him on TV in St Petersburg 2006,Mary Pierce had had a terrible accident in Linz,rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament,I watched it happen on TV,I felt sick for her and went to bed feeling I wouldn't watch tennis again maybe for the rest of the week.
However,I decided to tune in to the mens event scheduled the next day,and Ernests was first on. I'll never forget that he had to go back to the locker room because he had to cover a sponsors logo with a patch on his shorts. It took him a while to come back onto court,but then he was grinning all over his face.
I was struck straightaway by his natural service action(playing against Czech Jan Hernych who the commentator remarked looked a rather manufactured tennis player compared to Ernests). I noticed how he was an all-court player and he had such flair in his shot making even then. Then came the disputes with the Umpires,at crucial times,nothing too bad,but he was always keen to make his point and show his emotions!!
I thought he was a nice kid to look at right from the time I clapped eyes on him!
I didnt hear much of him until Roland Garros 2007,I found myself pulling for him to beat Tim Henman at RG. He was pretty good that day,serving well,using drop-shots,he had too much power for Henman that day! From then on I followed his matches on Tour religiously,as he qualified for tournaments and was delighted he made an impact at the US Open,and succeeded so well in Challengers that year,winning 3!! He was the main reason for me joining MTF,because I wanted more info,more pictures,and to see how many fans felt the same way as me about him.
I will follow him until he hangs up his rackets,he is so intriguing,does things his way,says what he thinks,there is never a dull moment with him,he can still make the highest echelons of this game. I believe he will mature in the next 2-3 years and be a complete player who will achieve a lot of success,and take more titles!
He'll always be No 1 for me