“I’ve known him since I was 12 years old,” Gulbis said. “We trained and lived together in the same room in Munich. I remember he was a normal, cool guy. But when he achieved his first big success then the look in his eyes just changed. You could just feel it. It’s not like we argued or anything, I just feel like he has changed and I don’t like that in people. I like strong characters who don’t change when first success or money appear—that’s the most important quality for me and it’s also important for myself not to change.”
Earlier this year, Gulbis said that the men’s Top 4 players were boring. In the interview last week, he said top players are image-conscious, “money-earning machines.”
“To be honest I actually like to provoke others sometimes. I said few times about Nadal and other top players that they are boring in their interviews and such. Everybody just acts the same, everybody’s the same,” Gulbis said. “I don’t want to be like all the others, I want to be different. Top players are money-earning machines—if they would say something ‘not right’ then they could lose contracts, sponsors and they are afraid of it. If you have started to act one way then you have to continue to act that way—Roger started to act as Swiss gentleman and now he has to continue to act like one, if he did something different, nobody would understand that. I’m all for individualism.”
- Djokovic’s Character
Some good stuff here. I just went ahead and posted the whole article because most of it was quoted anyway. This interview was back in 2013 and not much would have changed since then. At first glance what Gulbis says about the Djoker is not very complimentary, and I for one don’t like it when success changes people. That is indeed a sign of poor character. It is something I don’t like about Djokovic, but we all have our flaws, don’t we? At least he is a funny guy.
I was just discussing the matter with someone on twitter and he noted that Serbian and Croatian people suffered a lot from war and that they have a very different mentality. They need a lot of love and appreciation. And again I can totally identify with that, coming from the emotional war that was my youth. There is no need to judge, and I don’t think that is what Gulbis is doing here either. He is just the kind of guy who says what is on his mind and I have a great appreciation for that too.
The top players these days are a bunch of boring PR bots with zero personality. Gulbis is a strong individual because he does not care about popularity. The truth is more important to him and I very much identify with that too. To get back to Djokovic, coming from a difficult background gives people character and he certainly is a character. He is a much funnier and interesting personality than Fedal, and he does crazy things like insulting the spectators and smashing racquets.
- Fedal’s Boring PR Images
In the second part of the article Gulbis talks about Fedal’s boring PR images. I totally agree with him here too. Roger’s interviews are at least a bit more interesting than Nadal’s, but it comes to the same. Just PR machines not saying what they really think in order to uphold their public image. And again, with Roger there is at least a bit more honesty compared to Nadal’s fake modesty. Roger says what he thinks mostly, but there is a line he won’t cross. And again this has nothing to do with judging.
Everyone has their priorities and everyone is different. But for someone like me whose first priority is truth and honesty, and not popularity, I prefer the likes of Gulbis. Roger is an individual himself in the sense that he is kind of an impeccable guy. He doesn’t seem to be corrupted by fame. He is just a very clean and real guy which is something rare for famous people. It is easy to succumb to fame and sell out. But Roger has always remained very grounded and exemplary.
He is not boring per se. He is just the perfect Swiss gentleman like Gulbis says and he is now expected to conduct his affairs in a certain way. There is just a certain predictability and lack of freedom in that which I don’t care for. Of course in Roger’s tennis, there is no predictability and lack of freedom. I am talking about his personality. So like I said before, the Djoker’s slightly crazy personality and lack of predictability has been a nice change up. And, of course, the same goes for his game which is the exact opposite of Roger’s.
- In Conclusion
The main thing here is not to judge. I’m sure some Fedfans will be delighted that I posted this so that they can now go ahead and judge Djokovic and my blog. Other than the fact that it will get your comment deleted, it will also make you look like a hypocrite, so don’t bother. I made this post to show that I don’t think the Djoker is perfect, just like I don’t think Roger is perfect. We are all different and we all have our different likes and dislikes, and there is no need to judge. There is also no need to worship blindly.
Roger has the perfect public image, but that comes at a price itself. And as far as tennis goes he was never mentally strong enough to overcome his main rival, who owns him in the head-to-head. Djokovic may be weak and insecure when it comes to the public, but when it comes to crunch time he is mentally as strong as they come. We don’t need any better example than the Wimbledon final last year where he edged Roger despite Roger’s best effort ever to get back into a match.
And that kind of mental strength and will to win comes from adversity. So yeah, no need to judge anyone. Not even Nadal. I don’t like Nadal, but there is a lot to respect and appreciate. He is mentally stronger than Djokovic even and that probably comes from uncle Toni being really tough on him since he was a boy. I also think Djokovic has matured a lot over the years, and with the stability of a wife, a kid, and legendary status as a tennis player he is now more secure and comfortable in his own skin.
The is in your court.