LONDON: Former player Justin Gimelstob will step down from the ATP board of directors and will not seek re-election after being sentenced following a felony battery charge, the New York Times quoted him as saying on Wednesday.
“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,” Gimelstob said in a telephone interview with the Times from Spain.
“I take responsibility for that, and I take responsibility for the mistakes I made Halloween night.”
Gimelstob, who won the Australian and French Open mixed doubles titles in 1998, was at one time considered a possible successor to outgoing executive chairman and president of the governing body of men’s tennis (ATP) Chris Kermode.
The 42-year-old American was arrested last November for an attack on Oct. 31 in Los Angeles on Randall Kaplan, who is a friend of Gimelstob’s ex-wife, Cary Sinnott.
Gimelstob pleaded ‘no contest’ to a felony battery charge in April that was reduced to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to three years probation and 60 days of community labour and ordered to complete 52 weeks of anger management instruction.
In the wake of Gimelstob’s plea, Wimbledon banned him from its royal box and from participating in its annual invitational doubles tournament for retired players.
Players have also been vocal with three-times Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka taking to Twitter on Tuesday to voice his concern.
“Players need to speak out,” tweeted Wawrinka. “Justin Gimelstob has been convicted of a violent assault. It simply cannot be possible for anyone to condone this type of behavior and worse, support it. In any other business or sport, we would not be discussing this. The council @ATP_Tour need to do something about this and finally end this conversation and shameful period in our great sport.”