sport

Djokovic ready for Gulbis test

Novak Djokovic thinks he may have his hands full against an aggressive Ernests Gulbis in the French Open semi-finals on Friday.

The Serbian has been in brilliant form recently and is even priced above clay-court king Rafael Nadal as the favourite to win a maiden crown at Roland Garros.

Not many expect Gulbis to cause him any major difficulties in the last four, but the Latvian is enjoying his own purple patch having long been considered a player who was not living up to his potential.

Djokovic has known Gulbis since they were teenagers at the same German academy and believes the 25-year-old is now starting to display the attributes needed to be an elite player.

"We all know that talent maybe was a few decades ago in our sport one of the major factors that brought success to the tennis player, but not anymore," Djokovic said.

"Talent is something that is a gift that you have but it's a minor part of a puzzle that needs to come together for you to be a successful player.

Big wins

"Maybe those things didn't come together for him in the last couple of years, but now they are. He has won against Roger (Federer), won against Tomas (Berdych).

"He has a huge serve that if it goes in it can give him a lot of advantage over the opponent. He's definitely going to be aggressive and going to go for his shots against me.

"I'm going to try to get myself prepared with the team and get the right tactics."

Gulbis was a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros six years ago as a teenager and freely admits he only has himself to blame for the stall in his career that followed.

He has won only one of five previous meetings against Djokovic but they have not played each other for more than three years. Gulbis does not think past records will count for much on Friday.

"The way I'm playing now, I never played like this. I never felt like this. It's just 0-0. What was in the past, I don't even consider."