WASHINGTON, May 3 — Justin Gimelstob resigned from his position on the ATP’s board of directors after the American was sentenced following assault charges, he announced on Wednesday.
Gimelstob, a former professional player, pleaded no contest to felony battery charges and was given three years’ probation and 60 hours of community service by a Los Angeles court on April 22.
“I’m heartbroken to walk away from something I love so much, but given the current climate I do not deserve to be in this position of influence,” he said in a Facebook post.
“While I can, have, and will continue to dispute the way that evening has been depicted, the material matter is that my judgement that evening compromised the sport and the people that entrusted me with the authority to represent them,” he added.
Gimelstob, 42, was in court following an incident in October last year that saw him accused of attacking former friend Randall Kaplan while the venture capitalist, his wife and their two-year-old daughter were trick-or-treating on Halloween.
“My job was to best represent the players, the ATP and be a custodian of the sport. My choices and actions last Halloween night prohibit me from doing that at this time,” Gimelstob said.
“My role is designed to work on behalf of the players and the sport and it is clear that I have now become a significant burden and distraction to both.”
‘Need to take a step back’
“It has become clear that I need to take a step back — for the good of the players, the game and for myself.”
Pressure from players and former players had mounted on Gimelstob to stand down from the ATP board, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka joining the chorus just a day ago.
“Justin Gimelstob has been convicted of a violent assault. It simply can not be possible for anyone to condone this type of behaviour and worse support it,” the Swiss former world number three said, calling the American remaining on the board a “shameful period in our great sport.”
Andy Murray, Pat Cash and Martina Navratilova were among several former players calling for Gimelstob’s ouster.
Gimelstob went 107-172 in a career from 1996 to 2007, never winning an ATP singles title and reaching as high as 63rd in the world rankings. His best Grand Slam singles runs came to the third round at Wimbledon and the US Open.
He captured mixed doubles Grand Slam titles at the 1998 Australian and French Opens partnered with Venus Williams. Later, he served as a coach and television commentator. — AFP