MASPALOMAS, November 28, 2023
Vilius Gaubas is one of the promising talents to watch on the Pro Circuit. The 18-year-old Lithuanian has already captured four singles titles on the the ITF World Tennis Tour, three of them this season on Spanish soil, lifting trophies in Reus, Telde and Sabadell.
Gaubas is coached by former World No. 23 and five-time ATP Tour champion Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. The World No. 391, who considers Casper Ruud and Dominic Thiem as his role models, is based in Alicante and is competing in this week’s EO Hotels Maspalomas Challenger in Gran Canaria. Gaubas beat 35-year-old Romanian Alexandru Jecan on Monday to qualify for the main draw of the €73,000 ATP Challenger Tour clay-court event.
After the match, we met the teenager for an interview.
Tennis TourTalk: Congratulations, Vilius. Solid win today. What was the key to success?
Vilius Gaubas: The level of intensity made the difference today. The whole match I succeeded to keep my intensity, my footwork, my shots, staying aggressive.
It was kind of a battle of the generations. Does this matter and affect your game?
Yes, definitely. He thinks more on the court and looks for things, which makes it uncomfortable for me on the court, playing more slices and stuff like that.
What are the biggest challenges coming from the Juniors Circuit to senior’s level?
The biggest part is the mental part. The shots don’t make a big difference, as we hit with the same speed almost the entire time. Of course, one hits harder, another one hits lower but the players having more experience on the ATP Tour they know what to do in the important moments. They are more focused and do not lose their concentration so quickly.
How would you describe your own game style? What are your strengths and the weaknesses you still have to work on?
I am an aggressive baseliner. I try to make the difference with my forehand, taking the initiative. My weaknesses are the defensive shots.
You are here with Guillermo Garcia Lopez. Can you tell us a bit about your practice situation?
We are based in Alicante, Spain. The practice is of really good quality. We have been working together for one year and a few months now and everything is going well.
How did you connect?
Four years ago I came to Alicante with a coach, who knew Guillermo and we practiced a few times when I was 15 years old. One year ago, I was looking for a coach and Guillermo finished his career. That’s when we started our partnership.
So, you also feel a bit Spanish…?
And you seem to feel comfortable in Gran Canaria. Earlier in the season, you won a title on the ITF World Tennis Tour in Telde. How does it feel to come back to the Canary Islands?
The weather is always nice. This is a great thing. Like in the Telde, the organization here is very nice. I am happy to return. I played here Maspalomas as a junior but it’s my first time in this club.
When you’re on the tour do you also visit the places, where the tournaments take place?
Not that much. When I finish a tournament and there is still some time left I try to visit the cities but normally I just try to do my work, staying focused.
It’s the final week of the season. When you look back, what were the highlights for you?
I didn’t have a good start into the season. My first main draw match win was against the guy I played today. From there, things changed and I gained some confidence and everything improved.
You also represented Lithuania in the Davis Cup. How was the experience?
It was incredible playing in Buenos Aires against Argentina with all the fans. It was like a football match. Everyone was screaming and supporting their team. In the end I managed to play a good match and I was happy.
Although you live Spain, but do you also follow the tennis scene back home?
The circumstances have improved a lot in Lithuania. There are a lot of players coming up and I think it will be even better in the future. They have built good indoor complexes and also host an ATP Challenger tournament in Vilnius.
What are your plans for the off season and what are your goals for 2024?
I haven’t thought about next year yet. I will have a few days off at home in Šiauliai after this tournament. Then I will start to work on my pre-season preparations in Alicante.
Thank you and all the best.
Interview: Florian Heer