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Justin Gimelstob’s conviction puts onus on ATP to find moral fibre

first_imgTopics Gimelstob always had wider ambitions in the game and when he became one of the three board representatives elected by the Association of Tennis Professionals player council, he began to express them. In that capacity he was part of the coup that in March, during the Indian Wells tournament, unseated the ATP’s chief executive, Chris Kermode.It was a process initiated by the players’ council president, Novak Djokovic, who is at odds with Kermode about the direction of the sport, demanding more financial transparency from tournament organisers, and supported by Isner, Gimelstob’s friend and confidant, as well as a handful of other players. Despite widespread support among many prominent players across the tour, Kermode’s contract will not be renewed when it expires in November, even though he leaves behind a legacy of many improvements and innovations after years of crushing stasis in the ATP.At the time of writing, there was no ATP statement on Gimelstob’s status. Whether or not he is still a board representative when Kermode leaves his job – having voted to end his contract – will say much about the moral fibre of the game at the highest level. Share via Email Gimelstob was good at doubles, winning mixed titles with Venus Williams at the Australian and French Opens, but he failed to get past the third round in singles in 11 majors. Although he had wins over players such as Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter, he was a fringe presence on the tour. While many players would be happy with that, Gimelstob wanted more from the game. He wanted to leave his mark.Always outspoken and confident, after retiring in 2007 he found work as a blogger and commentator, most prominently with the Tennis Channel, as well as coaching, which included a recent gig with John Isner. So far, so boring. And, but for two unrelated incidents in the past several months, Gimelstob might have remained largely unknown to all but the game’s hardcore.Last Halloween he attacked a former friend, Randall Kaplan, a well-connected venture capitalist who was out trick-or-treating in the exclusive Los Angeles neighbourhood of Brentwood, with his pregnant wife, Madison, and their two-year-old daughter, Carter.In a Los Angeles court on Monday Gimelstob, 42 and now living in pleasant Santa Monica, changed his plea from not guilty to no contest to a felony battery charge, which carries a jail term but was reduced on appeal to a misdemeanour. He was sentenced to three years probation, 60 days’ community service and ordered to undergo anger-management sessions.Kaplan said in a court statement that Gimelstob knocked him to the ground from behind and hit him more than 50 times to the head. He said he was “badly bruised and in a tremendous amount of physical pain”. He admitted to “never being so scared in my life”. The judge, Upinder Kalra, described the incident as a “violent, unprovoked attack in public in front of children”. Facebook Justin Gimelstob won two grand slam mixed doubles titles alongside Venus Williams and was once ranked No 63 in the world in men’s singles. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian Share on Pinterest Read more Justin Gimelstob pleads no contest to assaulting friend during trick-or-treat session Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Since you’re here… US sports Share on LinkedIn Justin Gimelstob grew up alongside a few hundred very rich people in a hamlet that Forbes magazine once listed among the 25 most expensive zip codes in the United States – New Vernon in Harding Township, New Jersey.Perhaps it shaped his sense of entitlement. Maybe it led to his downfall.Educated at the seventh-oldest private school in the country, young Justin had a golden glow about him. He also had a talent for tennis and a physical presence and personality that lifted him out of the ordinary as a junior, but these qualities did not translate convincingly to the Tour. Pinterest features Madison Kaplan, Randall’s wife, recorded some of the attack on her phone, and said in a statement: “Thankfully my husband survived, but our unborn child did not.” She added: “My doctors said everything had looked perfect with the pregnancy before the attack. The only reason they could see causing the miscarriage was the stress from the attack.”Gimelstob, who admitted hitting Kaplan, said he provoked him by making derogatory remarks about his father, Barry, who had died four days earlier. Kaplan, who first met Gimelstob in 2008 and “never liked him”, said the long-running animosity between them stemmed from his friendship with Gimelstob’s estranged wife, Cary Sinnott, a respected Los Angeles psychotherapist.Michael Kump, Gimelstob’s lawyer, said his client pleaded no contest so he could “move on with his professional life and focus on his family”.Gimelstob is not without admirers at the Tennis Channel, apparently, even though his abrasive manner is not to everyone’s taste. After Monday’s verdict, the channel issued a statement of support that made no reference to Kaplan, his wife or the child that they lost. “We are sure that Justin is pleased that this matter has been resolved,” it said. “Since he took his leave of absence from Tennis Channel in November 2018, we have been waiting for the legal system to run its course. Now that this is behind him, we will have internal meetings among our executives – and meetings with Justin – to discuss his future with Tennis Channel.”That’s the “moving on” bit of this story. But there are unresolved issues elsewhere. Share on Messenger Reuse this content Share on Facebook Sportblog Share on WhatsApp Tennis … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Twitter Support The Guardianlast_img read more

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