Djokovic-led ATP player coun­cil to hold con­fer­ence call to rule on Gimel­stob role

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - News - By Si­mon Briggs TEN­NIS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The 10 mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ten­nis Pro­fes­sion­als coun­cil – who are led by world No1 No­vak Djokovic – are ex­pected to hold a con­fer­ence call this week to dis­cuss how to deal with the al­le­ga­tions of vi­o­lence sur­round­ing board mem­ber Justin Gimel­stob.

De­spite the con­cerns around Gimel­stob’s al­leged be­hav­iour over a pe­riod of years, re­ported in Fri­day’s Daily Tele­graph ex­clu­sive, he has not stepped down from his ex­ec­u­tive role at the ATP and the rules of the or­gan­i­sa­tion make it dif­fi­cult for his five fel­low board mem­bers to force him out.

The player coun­cil, how­ever, would need to vote by only a six-four ma­jor­ity to oust him. In­ter­est­ingly, it al­ready re­moved one of its player rep­re­sen­ta­tives – the Aus­tralian coach Roger Rasheed – at the start of this month, be­cause he voted through a 12-month pay deal for the 2019 sea­son which some mem­bers, in­clud­ing Djokovic, did not agree with.

Now it has a sit­u­a­tion where one of its board mem­bers is on $50,000 (£39,200) bail af­ter be­ing ar­rested on Nov 21 for an al­leged as­sault on ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Ran­dall Ka­plan, who states in court pa­pers that “some­body at­tacked me from be­hind, knocked me to the ground, pinned me down, and punched me in the face and head more than 50 times in front of many wit­nesses. Dur­ing this as­sault, he con­tin­u­ously screamed, ‘I am go­ing to ----ing kill you’.”

Mean­while, The Tele­graph last week re­vealed more sets of court pa­pers: a do­mes­tic re­strain­ing or­der filed by Gimel­stob’s wife Cary, and a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der filed by busi­ness­man Kris Thabit, who both ac­cused Gimel­stob of hav­ing as­saulted them.

The Tele­graph also pub­lished tes­ti­mony from three pad­dle-ten­nis play­ers who al­leged that Gimel­stob had crossed the net at a 2017 tour­na­ment in Venice Beach, Los An­ge­les, and laid hands on his op­po­nents.

Gimel­stob last night re­leased a state­ment in which he de­nied all the al­le­ga­tions against him.

“Mr Gimel­stob un­equiv­o­cally and ab­so­lutely de­nies ever en­gag­ing in do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or ho­mo­pho­bic be­hav­iour of any kind,” said his lawyer, Shawn Holley, in a state­ment to “Any sug­ges­tions to the con­trary are false.”

Gimel­stob’s court hear­ing is sched­uled for Dec 12, and while his le­gal team are be­lieved to be hope­ful of re­duc­ing the level of charge to a mis­de­meanour, the Los An­ge­les Po­lice De­part­ment are still list­ing it un­der ag­gra­vated as­sault which comes un­der the more se­ri­ous head­ing of a felony.

A source told The Tele­graph: “The re­spect­ful thing to do, both for the player group that Justin rep­re­sents and for the tour as a whole, would be to step down at least while the case is in progress. If he clears his name at trial then he could re­turn to the board.”

It is also un­der­stood Gimel­stob may be in­vited to ad­dress the coun­cil. He is re­luc­tant to stand down while he is in the mid­dle of a cus­tody bat­tle with his es­tranged wife, for fear it will dam­age his chances of suc­cess.

In of­fice: Justin Gimel­stob has stayed on at the ATP de­spite con­cerns over his al­leged be­hav­iour

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