Ernests Gulbis caught in sexism row after admitting he doesn’t want his sisters to become tennis players as women ‘need to think about kids’
- Gulbis believes professional tennis is ‘a tough choice of life’ for women
- Latvian star is no stranger to controversy after previous comments
- Gulbis will face Roger Federer in the fourth round of the French Open
Ernests Gulbis has been caught in a sexism row after admitting that he doesn’t want his sisters to become tennis players as women ‘need to think about kids’.
The Latvian star has become better known for his controversial views than his performances on court in recent years but his latest outburst has shocked those both in and outside the world of professional tennis.
Addressing the subject of his younger sisters following in his footsteps, Gulbis said: ‘Hopefully they will not pursue professional tennis careers. Hopefully. Because for a woman, it’s tough.
Controversial: Ernests Gulbis says women need to ‘think about kids’ instead of getting into professional tennis
On form: Gulbis beat Radek Stepanek to reach the fourth round of the French Open in Paris
‘I wouldn’t like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It’s a tough choice of life. A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids.’
Gulbis’ comments have provoked outrage on social media and he is unlikely to emerge from the incident without at least being questioned about his views on women in sport.
The 25-year-old was speaking after ending a six-year wait to reach the fourth round of a grand slam by setting up a mouth-watering clash with Roger Federer in Paris.
Remarkably considering his enormous talent, Gulbis had lost in either the first or second round in 20 of his last 21 slams since reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open as a 19-year-old in 2008.
Gulbis is at least making headlines for his tennis as well these days. He has won two titles this season, most recently last weekend in Nice, and is at a career-high ranking of 17.
Gulbis is the first to admit he only has himself to blame for not making the most of his talent earlier in his career.
Next up: Gulbis says he has a plan to face Roger Federer in the next round at Roland Garros in Paris
He said: ‘I’m jumping on the last train. I’m 25, so this was my last opportunity to be really successful, I think, and I think I have a good seven, eight more years to play at the top level.’
At the start of last year Gulbis was ranked outside the top 130 and his rise since has been swift.
Gulbis felt he needed to go through the tough times, though, saying: ‘I don’t regret it at all, because I think in a way I’m in a better position.
‘Maybe not as a tennis player but as a person. Because I have been through ups and downs.
‘Most of the guys who are on top now, they haven’t been down a lot. They haven’t gone back from playing quarter-finals of a grand slam to asking for a wild card in a Challenger and not getting it, playing qualifying in a Challenger.
Room for improvement: Gulbis is hoping to reignite his career after winning two titles this season
‘And the attitude, how it changes a lot, from everybody. And I saw it. So now nothing can really blur my mind and my vision. I’m not going to be now suddenly friends with everybody.’
Federer and Gulbis have played three times before, all in 2010 and all of them close, with the Swiss winning twice.
Gulbis said: ‘I have a game plan. I know how I’m going to play him.
‘You don’t need to be scared to do certain things against him, because most of the people, they go on the court and they lose already the match before it has started. I can tell you that’s not going to be the case with me.’