Ernests Gulbis' comments laughable
Is that all Ernests Gulbis has got? If he really wanted to leave his mark at the French Open, he needed to go much bigger. As it was, his comment about not wanting his sisters to play tennis so that they can focus on family was just your regularly scheduled biannual insensitive comment from an ATP player about women and tennis.
What's that? You've never heard of Gulbis? No, not golfer Natalie Gulbis -- this one is a Latvian on the men's pro tour. Here is his response in full to a question about his sisters.
"Hopefully they're not going to pursue a 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."
Hopefully, Gulbis' sisters -- including Elina, who has a law degree -- can have a discussion with him about biological clocks and how 27 is still prime time.
Or better, let's have a panel discussion with Kim Clijsters, Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport and moderated by Pam Shriver about how tennis careers interfere with having children. Of course, we would need to provide child care for the 10 biological children they have between them.
Gulbis' remarks were pretty disappointing in light of Gilles Simon's 2012 comments at Wimbledon, where the Frenchman asserted that women don't deserve to be paid as much as men at Grand Slam events. Now, that's the way to get noticed. Columns were written! Responses were issued! Feathers were ruffled!
Asked to respond to Gulbis, WTA players offered smirks and tepid responses.
"I don't think we can take everything serious when he speaks," Maria Sharapova said, laughing. "I mean, let's be honest with that. I think he's great entertainment and we love to listen to what he has to say."
C'mon, Gulbis, get your head in the game. You have to do better if you want to evoke more than chuckles from the future mothers you are trying to offend.
"In a way, I think he was joking, but he's playing the sport, so how bad can it be?" Sharapova continued, gamely mustering a serious response. "If he felt so bad about it, and even if he's a male, I don't think he'd be playing it. I think the sport brings so many opportunities to women. I mean, it's brought me so many things into my life and my career. I don't regret any step that I have taken. But then, on the other hand, sometimes I wake up and think, 'Well, I don't wish this on my kids.' But then when I'm playing the matches, I'm in front of thousands of people and the experience that this sport brings, I think, 'Of course I want my kids to do this, this is such a huge lesson in life.' ''
You know what else Sharapova can do when she has kids? Actually spend time with them and enjoy the buckets of money she has earned as a professional tennis player. It's a formula that's worked for men for millennia -- working like crazy while amassing your fortune and then having a family.
Anyway, thanks to Gulbis for restarting the clock on the next insensitive comment. Hopefully, men on the tour have been monitoring the response here and realize they need to come up with something better if they want to become the next irrelevant footnote in Slam history.
By the way, Gulbis will face Roger Federer, father of four, in the fourth round. Teach him a lesson, Fed.