Justin Gimelstob Resigns From ATP Player Council

Tension and controversy surrounding Justin Gimelstob has been mounting among the ATP players, some maintaining staunch support, with others publicly calling for his exit. Today, Gimelstob put that controversy to rest with his resignation – effective immediately.

In an interview with the New York Times, Gimelstob stated “I’m stepping down because my job is to work on the sport’s behalf and the players’ behalf, and in my situation I’ve become too much of a distraction and a liability. I take responsibility for that, and I take responsibility for the mistakes I made Halloween night.”

The Controversy

On Halloween 2018, Gimelstob attacked former friend Randall Kaplan, repeatedly striking him in the head – while his wife and young child watched in terror. Gimelstob maintains that he was antagonized by Kaplan’s insults of his father who had recently died. Kaplan told the court he thought Gimelstob would kill him.

On April 22 Gimelstob entered a no contest plea. Presiding judge Upinder S. Kalra reduced the felony battery charge to a misdemeanor and sentenced Gimelstob to three years probation, 60 days of community service, and 52 weeks of anger management sessions.

While the criminal ordeal may have come to an end, a civil suit remains largely possible.

ATP Tour Board of Directors Vacant Seat

So, who will fill the seat which Justin Gimelstob has held for more than a decade? The person elected will serve as Americas region representative, with a three-year term beginning January 1, 2020. The 10-man Player Council is slated to vote on May 14, during the Masers 1000 tournament in Rome.  Brad Gilbert announced his candidacy via Twitter, with his tweet stating “Absolutely committed to running for the position on the @ATP_Tour Board as the Americas representative. Benn involved with the ATP since 1981. Time to step up for better prize money, jobs, schedules and leadership. Looking forward to speaking with all the player representatives (emojis).”

Other candidates (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Brandon Burke, former top 100 junior, Davis Cup player for Jamaica
  • Weller Evans, served on the Men’s Tennis Council from 1985-1989
  • Jose Hernandez-Fernandez, Tour player
  • Mark Knowles, coach, commentator and retired doubles player
  • Steve Krulevitz, former player
  • Luke Jensen, women’s head coach at Syracuse from 2006-2014
  • Nicolas Lapentti, former player
  • Peter Lawler, tennis agent
  • Tim Mayotte, co-founder of the Tim Mayotte Tennis Academy
  • Austin Nunn, WTA Tour and World Team Tennis communication
  • Nicolas Pereira, commentator
  • Michael Russell, former player/coach
  • Daniel Vallverdu, coach
  • Modesto Vasquez, former Davis Cup captain from Argentina

From this list, it’s clear that there’s no move to diminish the multiple roles a single person may play in the world of tennis.  Obviously, multiple roles may pose a conflict of interest.

It is still undecided who will serve as the Executive Chairman & President. In March, it was announced that Chris Kermode’s contract would not be renewed. Speculation included Justin Gimelstob ascending to that position.

What’s Next for Justin Gimelstob

In a phone interview from Spain, Gimelstob told the New York Times “I am committed to working on myself, dealing with the challenges in my personal life, and better equipping myself with the tools to handle the pain of losing my father and the ongoing litigation for equal custody of the most important thing in my life, my son”. Gimelstob has long served as a commentator for The Tennis Channel. Perhaps we’ll see Justin back in the booth in Madrid?

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