Ernests Gulbis speaks to the media following his 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) defeat by Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Q. I know you know him quite well and I'm sure you were expecting him to be serving well. You barely had any looks at his serve. What was making it tough today?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Today he served well in the match. Nothing was working from my side. Two of my biggest weapons, my serve and return, wasn't there.
Especially the serve. I couldn't get any free points from my serve. There is different reasons because of that. I don't want to get into details because of that.
Sergiy, a lot of credit to him. That's why he beat Roger last year. That's why he beat Roger last year on grass. The guy has a good game plan. He comes in; he chips the ball; he takes out the pace.
I just wasn't hitting the ball well enough today.
Q. Because you had such a great run in Paris, was it harder for you to adjust to the grass? Did you feel you didn't have as much time as you wanted to prepare?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Not really. Mentally, you know, I'm completely the same like I would be. Maybe I would skip Queen's if I would know how it would go and play maybe something right before Wimbledon, change it up a bit.
But you cannot have a perfect formula. I also didn't plan to play before Paris ever something. I played Nice and I won it. It just came together, you know.
I don't have the answer. So next year maybe I'm going to do something different. Maybe play a little bit more matches on grass. I played just one really bad match, yeah, against a tough opponent, De Schepper, in Queen's. There was no rhythm at all.
Then I played two exhibition matches. It's not enough. I need more matches on grass.
Q. With your serve, do you feel that grass should be a surface that you're comfortable with?
ERNESTS GULBIS: In a way, yes. But, you know, grass is very specific. With these Slazenger balls, they don't take so much spin. You know, even the baseline game, when I spin the ball, the ball collapses. It slides off the strings.
I have the feeling it's like that. Maybe I'm not explaining it perfectly, but you have to hit the ball much flatter. The serve also. It's different. It's just different.
I served really well last year and two years ago in couple matches. Let's say against Berdych I served incredibly well. But always on grass I played one good match then I play next one bad.
You know, I wasn't consistent enough. I don't have a consistent game yet on grass. I need to work on that.
Q. How important was it at 3-All in the second set? It was obviously a game you survived a lot of breakpoints and then the two double-faults at the end. From the outside you appeared to get quite angry after that. It took you a while to get back in your groove.
ERNESTS GULBIS: No, I was back in my groove straight after that. Of course I was angry. Who likes to lose a break in such a game? On the ad court, if you saw the game, I was serving three aces in a row.
The deuce court I was doing stupid stuff. The guy puts the ball in, I was doing stupid stuff. That's frustrating. On clay for me it's easier. Somebody puts the ball back, and if I don't feel the game, if I don't feel my shots, I can go for a rally.
I go for a rally and I hit the ball higher over the net, and somehow I start to find the game.
Here everything is much faster. You have to be more aggressive. That's what I didn't do today. I didn't come in enough. I pay the price. I lost in three sets.
I didn't have really big chances to win.
Q. How would you describe the response to the umpire/vampire comments?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Was there some response?
Q. What have you heard from people?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Nothing. Nothing. No, I don't have friends on tour. Nobody talks to me about it (laughter).
Honestly, nothing. But I understood the guy wrong, so what's the problem?
Q. This spring you've had quite a run in France: gambling, vampires, an early loss here.
ERNESTS GULBIS: What kind of gambling?
Q. You gambled your winnings...
ERNESTS GULBIS: That's bullshit. You can write it. That's bullshit. If you do your job better, then you're going to know what I said exactly. I never said something like that.
People try to get words out of context, and sometimes they even dream something together. I answered it.
Q. You didn't gamble your winnings at the blackjack tables in Latvia?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Of course I went to play blackjack, but there was no word how much I won or how much I lost. They asked me how much I lost. I said, A lot. I was joking. I was smiling. There was one-on-one interview.
Next day in Latvia they say I lost all my winnings. My mother sends me message next day asking am I -- maybe I'm a little bit crazy, but I'm not stupid.
Q. I still have a question to ask.
ERNESTS GULBIS: I'm ready for your question, but I wanted to interrupt you with not right information.
Q. That's interesting, because you're saying you lost a little bit of money at the blackjack tables. Thank you. But do you prefer a season where there are ups, downs, these great runs, or do you prefer the old days when it was more steady and not much attention? Have you enjoyed this run this spring on the tennis circuit?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Yes, I did. I enjoy much more playing semifinal than losing in first round (laughter).
Q. I was wondering if you rather want to get back to clay tournaments or like disconnect a little bit from tennis and get back to Latvia and disconnect?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Yeah, I'm going to probably take some weeks off, and probably I'm going to start only in Toronto because my body needs rest, and my mind needs a little bit rest.
It's more my body. I have a little bit some problems here and there after Paris, yeah, so I'll have probably 10 days off and then start practicing again. So good two, three weeks of practice, then going to USA.
No tournaments on clay. No.
Q. Was your back bothering you today?
ERNESTS GULBIS: A little bit the back and mostly the shoulder. Shoulder, yeah, it was a little bit sore. But it's not a big problem. Just sore.
Q. From your perspective, what is it like to try to break through the big four's dominance the way Wawrinka did at Australia, del Potro did, but nobody else in the last nine years?
ERNESTS GULBIS: I don't think that I did it. Okay, I won two good matches in Paris, but that's it. I beat Roger. I said it already, it was the biggest win of my career.
I played Berdych, but you guys don't consider Berdych as a top-four guy. He's a great player and I played a great match. I didn't have the feeling that I broke down something, so I still have a long way to go there.
Q. I meant trying to break through against the top four at majors. What is it like for all the other guys given their dominance over these last nine years?
ERNESTS GULBIS: The match against Djokovic showed me a lot and taught me a lot. Even the way I felt mentally, that I was really, really nervous and really anxious to play the match, I saw that he was feeling the same, you know.
I thought that I'm the only one who is really, really tired because of the conditions. It was much hotter than the week before. It was heavy weather.
After the second set and third set I saw that he's feeling the same, so I saw that he's not so extremely much better physically. He's probably better and that's why he beat me, but not so much better that I didn't see any reaction from him, you know.
He also got emotional. I had a feeling that I can get there if I have more chances to play against these guys in these kind of matches.
It's really tough to just start from nowhere and just win a Grand Slam and just be in final.
For example, for me it's important to play a couple quarterfinals, a couple semifinals, then to make the next step, you know, just to get my confidence on that level.
Then maybe we can talk about of me breaking up the top four or something like that.
Q. Victoria Azarenka said on Monday you and her talk about fine art.
ERNESTS GULBIS: We had a nice dinner. She didn't tell you how she lost to me in table tennis? She bragged all evening about how good she is in table tennis, but then I showed her who is the true tennis table champion.
Q. On the same night?
ERNESTS GULBIS: On the same night. We had a nice visit. She has a table tennis at home. I know Vika for a long time. She's a really good friend.
Yes, she told me she was interested in painting herself. She was telling me about stuff what she was painting. It was really interesting, but it wasn't really long conversation. We just touched the subject. We have a lot more interesting stuff to discuss about, but it's not for the press.
Q. Do you have your own art collection?
ERNESTS GULBIS: My family has, yes. Like Latvian artists, yes. Nothing else, but Latvian artists.
Q. Any particular artist?
ERNESTS GULBIS: There's a lot. You don't know the names. Rozentals, you know, classic artists. You have different stuff.
For me, Latvian art, it's a mixture between Russian and European school. Unfortunately, Latvian art hasn't been so much work put into their marketing to make it bigger, you know, because it's not really worse than, let's say, some really great Russian artists.
So first time actually it was here in London. It was four years ago when they had their week of Russian art in Sotheby's and Christie's gallery. They asked my father to help them out.
It was the first time in history two Latvian painters were sold in this auction. They asked for his help to put the nominal price just help out Latvian artists.
So, yeah, he's doing a lot for Latvia, but only for Latvian art. He doesn't collect nothing else.