Justin Gimelstob, the highly connected tennis figure with a long history of alleged violence, is resigning from his post on the ATP board of directors. Gimelstob felt he had become “too much of a distraction and a liability,” he told the New York Times from Madrid, where he had flown to personally disclose his decision to his ally and ATP player council president, Novak Djokovic.
Here’s part of the statement Gimelstob just posted to his Facebook page:
I am resigning effective immediately from the ATP Board of Directors.
It has been an honor and a privilege to hold this position for the past 11 years. 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. 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. That is not something that could or should continue. 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.
For the better part of my life, tennis has been much more than my occupation, it has been my passion. I love the sport. It has given me so much personally and professionally, for which I am very grateful. Along the way I have had some successes and failures, and undoubtedly have made my share of mistakes. I sincerely hope that I can and will be judged by my complete body of work throughout my career on and off the court; my passion, my energy, and my tireless work on behalf of my constituents and the game.
Giving up or conceding is not in my DNA, but it has become clear that I need to take a step back - for the good of the players, the game and for myself. Solely for that reason, I now more than ever appreciate that people in elected positions of influence must be held to the highest standard of conduct. I breached that standard on a night last October. I have always taken responsibility for my role in the events that evening and will continue to do so. While I can, have, and will continue to dispute the way that evening has been depicted, the material matter is that my judgment that evening compromised the sport and the people that entrusted me with the authority to represent them. I am deeply saddened and remorseful that my actions have caused the sport, players, my colleagues, friends and family such a distraction. Actions have consequences and me stepping away from a role I cherished is one of them that I accept.
Although Gimelstob’s violent history has seemingly been common knowledge in tennis circles for a while now, somehow public pressure for him to step down only began to ramp up in recent months, and intensified after he pleaded no contest to a felony battery charge on April 22. Another prominent voice chimed in yesterday, when three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka made this statement: