Djokovic-led ATP player council to hold conference call to rule on Gimelstob role
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 Metro.co.uk. “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