TORONTO—It's become one of the most distinctive sights on the tennis court: the famous Ernests Gulbis forehand. As his right arm raises sharply upwards, holding still, the left arm extends straight in front, fingers splayed, making the Latvian look like a bird about to take flight.
It's his signature. It's kinetic composition. It's a forehand that can stop traffic, which is exactly what it looks like it's doing.
And if Gulbis has his way, it's something that fans won't be seeing again.
He is retiring the stroke, rebuilding it into a shot designed to be more conventional than conversational. After Wimbledon, he trained hard on the practice court—which itself would have once been fairly unusual—under the supervision of a new coach, the highly regarded Larry Stefanki.
"I've been working a lot on my forehand,” Gulbis told TENNIS.com in July at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. “Trying to change it a bit, the motion; get to where it was a couple of years ago. In general, I want to make my forehand as solid as my backhand."