LONDON -- The more opportunities Ernests Gulbis gets to sit in front of a microphone the better. The No. 12 seed earned a tight straight-set win over Jurgen Zopp in his first round at Wimbledon. Then he spent a good portion of his press conference talking about vampires. Kind of.
Gulbis was asked whether he had heard John McEnroe's comments about wanting to eliminate umpires from the game and let the players call their own lines. Except Gulbis heard it as a question about "vampires." Thinking that McEnroe was analogizing player entourages with blood-sucking vampires, Gulbis answered the question earnestly and, well, colorfully.
"I am for freedom of choice and I am for, let's say, what's on my mind," he said. "I want to be able to say it. I don't like when people go for popular decisions and popular answers and everybody is trying to be the nice guy. Not everybody is, you know. So why I need to, sorry to say, get s--- for saying my own opinion. I want to be entitled to it. It's as simple as that. There is a lot of people surrounding tennis players who are helping with advice, how to say, even speak with the press, to behave or that, you know. It breaks down a little bit the personality. So, I'm totally for personality. That's it."
When the reporter asked a follow-up question it finally dawned on Gulbis. "My God. Umpires? I thought something else. I thought vampires in the way the people who are surrounding and sucking the energy out of players. That's what I meant. Umpires, no. Without umpires, it wouldn't work. So please delete [my answer]."
You can watch the entire exchange here.