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Ernests Gulbis Says Life on the Pro Tour is "Tough" for Women

Early Friday at Roland Garros, Ernests Gulbis defeated Radek Stepanek in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, to move into the fourth round and set up a much-anticipated meeting with Roger Federer. Gulbis, who has not reached the second week of a Grand Slam since making the quarterfinals in Paris in 2008, has a win on clay over Federer in his career.

However, as it has been for most of his career, the story was not Gulbis' performance on the court. Instead, the outspoken Gulbis came under fire for off-the-court comments. The controversy centered around his answer to a question in his post-match press conference, which asked whether or not he would want his younger sisters persuing a professional tennis career.

Q. You have two younger sisters that play tennis, as well. Are they going to be as good as you? When was the last time you played with [them]?

ERNESTS GULBIS: Hopefully they will not pursue professional tennis career. Hopefully. Because for a woman, it's tough. I wouldn't like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It's tough choice of life.

A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you're playing professional tennis, you know.

That's tough for a woman, I think.

This is not the first time that Gulbis' has generated controversy with off-the-court comments, nor is he the first player to comment on the WTA or the state of women's tennis. Gilles Simon, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Janko Tipsarevic have been outspoken in their criticisms of equal prize money, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stated at the Australian Open last year that "hormones" are a likely reason that the top women lose matches.

Gulbis' comments not only lit up social media, but the Roland Garros press room. Maria Sharapova, often inclined to give her opinion in response to these situations, offered the response below.