When Brian Gottfried enters tournaments, he comes to play tennis, not to protest calls or complain about the weather or crusade for causes. He plays the game, and seldom reveals his emotions.

"That's the way I was brought up, not to let the other guy know how I feel," he said yesterday. "If he sees that you're upset, he can build on that. Every once in a while, I'll slip . But I try 98 per cent of the time not to."

Apparently, his plan is working. Gottfried, 25, the No. 2 seed in the Washington Star International tennis championships, yesterday moved into the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ray Moore of South Africa.

His play in 1977 has catapulted him into third place in the computerized world rankings of the Association of Tennis Professionals. He has a sizable lead in the Colgate Grand Prix standings, with its $300,000 prize for the winner. He has won four tournaments, including the Volvo Classic here in March, and has been runner-up ii in four, including the French Open.

Still, he said, success hasn't tachioed Floridian said. "All the things that you might expect to happen really haven't. My wife and I still live a pretty quiet life. There are a few more requests for appearances and things, but it hasn't been outrageous. I'm thankful to it, too."

Goddfried has shied away from endorsements and exhibitions. "The money has never entered my care to do is play in numerous exhible on TV endorsing different products, that immediately turns me off. You see so many, though. Athletes are paid to do their thing, to play their game. They are not professional salesmen or actors. I don't downgrade guys for doing it, but it's just not something I care to do."

Something else that he does not bition matches. He played one several weeks ago at the club he represents in Bonaventure, Fla., but prefers tournament play.

"I've been having a very big year in the Grand Prix. I want the tournaments that I do play in to be ones in which I get points for the mathces I win. I can't see wearing myself out with plane rides and travelling to different cities for exhibitions. I like to spend my time playing tournaments or resting and practising for tournaments."

That schedule keeps him away from home 10 months of the year. But he doens't complain abou that either. His wife, Windy, keeps him company on the tour. And, of late, he's been running into younger brother, Larry, 18, an up-and-coming player who is tough team, you know."

Brian Gottfried refrains from comparing himself to his brother, but others may be forced to do so if the two meet in doubles competition here.

"It would be pretty exciting for me, I know," Gottfried said. "But I'd just play my regular game. They (Larry and John McEnroe) are a pretty toughteam, you know."

"If I'm playing well, winning matches, and my wife and I are enjoying the tour, I'm happy. Really. Maybe it's because I know that if I play well, everything else will come.

"When I started playing tennis, I was told to hit the ball and keep your mouth shut. I never knew that if you wanted to be a professional tennis player you had to have a personality. Maybe I should have had a manager in character building," he said.