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By Chris Oddo | Sunday, February 23, 2014


Ernests Gulbis is setting his sights high after his recent title in Marseille. Read on to find out how high.

Photo Source: AP

Speaking after winning his fifth career title in Marseille, Latvian Ernests Gulbis tells that he isn't satisfied with reaching the top 20.

>>> Video: Nadal Saves Two Match Points to Reach Rio Final

"My long-term goal in tennis isn't to be Top 20,” said Gulbis. “It's to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn't make me fully satisfied. I don't want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn't make something of it. Everybody's looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.”

Gulbis, who loudly declared his intentions of making the ATP's top 20 last year when he was well out of the top 100, has backed up his words since then (he is projected to be in the ATP's top 20 for the first time ever when rankings are released on Monday).

He racked up a 13-match winning streak last year (including qualifiers) and since then, the Latvian has been steadily climbing the rankings.

>>> Marseille: Gulbis Outhits Tsonga for Fifth Career Title

Last year Gulbis reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal since 2010, but he has yet to up his game at the Grand Slams. Since his quarterfinal appearance at the French Open in 2008, the 25-year-old has only been past the second round at a Grand Slam on one occasion—a remarkable achievement given Gulbis' talent level.

Still, Gulbis today is a far cry from what he was a few years ago in terms of maturity and commitment. The way he trounced Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in back-to-back matches on their home soil is further proof that Gulbis can match up with longtime members of the top ten.

But Gulbis knows he needs to keep improving to compete with titles alongside the game's big four. "I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game,” he told, “because they know if I serve well and I'm aggressive, then it's tough to play against me. I don't feel I'm in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.”


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