Doha dreams to kick off 2010
Ernests will play his first tournament of 2010 in the glittering desert city of Doha, the host of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
The tournament boasts a formidable entry list, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Davydenko headlining the field.
The affluent Emirates states have been positioning themselves as a modern commercial and sporting destination, with Doha leading the way with three tennis tournaments to its name, including the WTA season-ending championships.
Year in and year out, its deep pockets and growing reputation helped to secure marquee names for the event. This is no mean feat considering that the Brisbane Open – an attractive option which eliminates lengthy travel for the players immediately before the Australian Open – is held during that same week.
Despite having clawed his way back into the Top 100 with a quarterfinal run in St Petersburg, at No. 90, Ernests’ position is still precarious.
He will defend 20 ranking points in Doha, courtesy of his first-round victory over Novak Djokovic in Brisbane earlier this year.
Ernests is likely to make the main draw in Melbourne Park by the skin of his teeth, where he has a further 45 points to defend.
His performance appeared to have picked up towards the end of this year but he was still far from setting the world on fire.
It is hoped that with Hernan Gumy on his bench, Ernests will begin to translate his potential into victories on a more consistent basis.
Childish mistakes, like double-booking himself into both Kooyong and Auckland in the same week, and failing to inform the Bercy organisers of his withdrawal, also must go, for Ernests Gulbis is now 21 and must realise that he is not a child anymore.