World No. 22 and BNP Paribas Open 20th seed Ernest Gulbis stopped by to chat with us after his electrifying three-set win against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. We covered many topics with the always funny Latvian, including blocking Ivo Karlovic‘s shot in basketball, rap artist Kendrick Lamar, and why his superpower would turn him into a super-villain.
BNP Paribas Open: Your father and grandfather were former professional basketball players. How’s your game on the hardwood?
Ernests Gulbis: My game is very good. I actually played in Delray Beach. They have a basketball court on the player loge, and I was beating everyone. I even blocked Ivo Karlovic, once. Me and my father beat him and his coach.
BNPPO: Are you a high-flyer, slasher, maybe a shooter?
EG: I see the court, I’m more of a playmaker.
BNPPO: If not for tennis, would basketball be your primary sport, or something else?
EG: It would probably be basketball. I also love playing soccer, but I think I’m better at basketball than soccer.
BNPPO: Have you ever dreamed about having a superpower?
EG: Definitely, I would like to teleport. Not only for traveling, but for robbing banks [Laughter]. You get the cash, maybe hide in New Zealand, and then if somebody comes you can teleport again. I love it.
BNPPO: If you could pick a song or album to be the soundtrack of your life, what would it be?
EG: That’s very hard, because I’m a very big music fan. I actually have five terabytes of music. I have old albums from my father’s collection, a lot of classical music, rock and opera, everything. Not that I listen to all of it, but I love the variety.
BNPPO: What songs are in your rotation right now?
EG: Right now, I’m listening to a lot of rap music. When I was in New York last time, I visited a really nice music festival in Philadelphia. I went backstage and got to know the rap culture a little bit more, and I really liked the vibe and the people. I really like Kendrick Lamar’s album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” That’s the best rap album I’ve heard in a while.
BNPPO: If you were a car, what type would you be and why?
EG: A would be a fast car, no particular brand, just fast!
BNPPO: Rapid fire time! Give us the first answer that comes to mind.
BNPPO: Window or aisle?
BNPPO: Chocolate or Vanilla?
EG: Oh – that’s too tough to pick.
BNPPO: Morning or Evening?
BNPPO: Who inspires you?
EG: I’m a big fan of interviews, and I watch a lot on YouTube. I watch and try to get inspiration from intelligent people. In general, it’s my father. He’s been very inspirational throughout my life, but small details come from a lot of people.