John Isner Hits Out At ‘Arrogant’ Lleyton Hewitt In Row Over Coach Gimelstob - UBITENNIS
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John Isner Hits Out At ‘Arrogant’ Lleyton Hewitt In Row Over Coach Gimelstob

The American No.1 has criticised calls for his mentor to be removed from the ATP Board.

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World No.10 John Isner has slammed Lleyton Hewitt’s call for his coach Justin Gimelstob to be removed from the ATP Board after he was arrested for alleged assault.

 

Gimelstob is under police investigation after being accused of attacking venture capitalist Randall Kaplan as he walked down the street in West Los Angeles along with his wife and child. Kaplan, who is a former friend of Gimelstob, has claimed that he was hit 50 times during the attack and has since filed for a restraining order. The former tennis player, who works as a commentator and coach, is currently on a $50,000 bail and has taken leave from The Tennis Channel.

“Justin asked Tennis Channel for a leave of absence while he works through this issue. As he is a longtime, valued member of our network family, we of course granted it to him. We believe that in today’s climate, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to recognize due process and the fact that there are multiple sides to every story. We don’t want to rush to immediate judgment, and will follow this closely as more detail comes to light.” A statement from the network reads.

As well as the assault claims, The Telegraph has since outlined a series of other incidents involving the 41-year-old. Including one occasion in 2017 where he had to be ‘restrained by players, officials and spectators’ after trying to choke an opponent at a paddle tennis tournament in America. He has also been previously accused of making homophobic remarks, as well as domestic violence against his ex-wife. Although his lawyer, Shawn Holley, has denied this in a statement sent to metro.co.uk.

“Mr. Gimelstob unequivocally and absolutely denies ever engaging in domestic violence or homophobic behaviour of any kind. Any suggestions to the contrary are false.” Said Holley.

In the wake of the controversy, former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has called for Gimelstob to be removed from the ATP Board. Gimelstob has been part of the seven-member board since 2008 and represent players from the Americas region. He has been previously mentioned as a potential successor to ATP CEO Chris Kermode.

‘Innocent until proven guilty’

Responding to Hewitt, Isner has defended Gimelstob. A long-time member of his coaching team. During one stage of Isner’s career, Gimelstob accompanied him on the tour for a three-year period before it was halted by family issues facing the former player.

“Of course Justin is very close to me, as a friend and as a coach,” Isner told reporters on Tuesday, according to ESPN. “But even if he wasn’t, at the current time I would still support him because he’s innocent until proven guilty. We’ll know the facts soon enough. It might not be a popular opinion, but as of now, I have to give Justin benefit of doubt.”

Isner, who won his maiden Masters title in Miami earlier this year, then went on to take a swipe at Hewitt. Bringing up an incident the Australian was involved in during the 2001 US Open. Hewitt, who was 20 at the time, attracted criticism after suggesting during his match against James Blake that the official penalised him because he had a similar skin colour to Blake. He was foot-faulted twice during the third set of the match by a black linesman. Afterwards Hewitt insisted that ‘there was nothing racial said out there’ and Blake gave him the benefit of the doubt.

“I don’t think [Justin] should take a leave right now,” Isner commented on Gimelstob’s position on the ATP Board.
“We don’t know the facts yet. Hewitt doesn’t know the facts, either. He’s the guy who was involved in his own nasty situation with James Blake [at the 2001 US Open], and I’m not calling for his head, or for him to step down from working with Tennis Australia. He’s being arrogant.”

Gimelstob is out on bail until his hearing on December 12th.

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Paolo Bertolucci: “I really believe that Federer will continue in 2021”

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Former Davis Cup champion and 1977 Hamburg winner Paolo Bertolucci talked in an interview to the Italian OA Sport website about the tennis calendar changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is affecting the world of sport.

 

Bertolucci said that the decision to cancel Wimbledon and the entire grass season was inevitable.

“I agree with the decision of the ATP to cancel all the tournaments until the grass season. I think that it may be unlikely for the season to resume in 2020. In my opinion tennis has taken the right decision. It was the sport to stop everything, first by blowing the European clay season and then cancelling the grass season too. I believe it would take a miracle if the tennis season will resume with the US hard-court tournaments. It is much more likely that tournaments will be cancelled until at least September. I absolutely do not hope so, but, if the epidemic continues in this way and they cannot find an effective solution in a short term, I think it is difficult to start over. It is true that tennis is not a contact sport, but it about players, who move from one continent to another every week. Travel is the real problem, not so much the game itself. You could opt for closed doors or for a distancing of spectators, but I find that hard. Starting the hard-court season seems an extremely optimistic idea. Doing it in Asia in October is something more realistic, but in the end i would not be surprised if the whole season was cancelled”, said Bertolucci.

Roger Federer was aiming at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but both events will not be held this year. Bertolucci thinks that Federer will continue his career in 2021.

“I really believe that Federer will continue in 2021. At what levels it is difficult to say. At his age, every age counts. While skipping does not make a difference for young people, when you start to cross the 30-32 threshold every year, it gets more and more complicated, even more if get close to 40. This is mainly true for him, a little less for Nadal, even less for Djokovic. It is true that they are great champions and will be able to better manage all these months of inactivity, but inevitably they will pay. On the other hand, young people who would have needed to play many games to accumulate experience will not be able to do it, but I still believe that the gap will decrease”.

 Tsitsipas and Thiem have the potential to take over the top three in the future.

“Thiem has more experience and has been playing at such a high level for five years. Tsitsipas has a good story and comes from a country without a tennis tradition. The Greek player has the potential to win titles on all surfaces. I also like Shapovalov, but he has a risky playing style. Auger Aliassime is a good prospect. Italian fans can have hopes for Berrettini and Sinner. All depends on injuries, because many players will not be able to be consistent at these levels, although they are talented.”

Bertolucci thinks that 2019 Next Gen ATP champion Jannik Sinner will continue his rise in the future after his breakthrough season last year.

“He would have needed to play a lot in 2020, but he is so young that he can even afford to lose a year. He will watch many matches and study tactically. I know he watches one match after another. I have never seen an Italian player reach this level at the age of 18. He must certainly work on every aspect, but he has enormous margins for improvement. He must physically improve, raise the percentage of first serves and the percentage of returns, he must learn to learn new offensive solutions and to know areas of the court that he has not frequented so far. In my opinion he is more suitable for hard court, but he can also play well on clay and on grass, but these are things that he will discover only later in a few years”.

Bertolucci thinks that Matteo Berrettini has the potential to confirm the excellent results that propelled him to his career high of world number 8.

 “Matteo had not so many points to defend in the first half of 2020. The priority for him was to solve his physical problem. For this reason the injury was not a big problem, as he would have had to defend the points that he won in 2019. He worked very hard. I don’t know if he will be able to repeat the results he achieved last year, but he has not reached the top eight by chance”.

 

According to Bertolucci, Italy has a good chance to win the Davis Cup with a full team.

 

“Italy would have a good chance to win this event with the best times. There are not so many teams, which can boast two players, who are close to the top 10 and a good doubles team formed by Fognini and Bolelli. It is necessary that the two singles players are in good shape. Unfortunately that was not the case last year. Italy can win the Davis Cup, if Fognini and Sinner are in form”.

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Tennis In The Time Of Covid-19

There will be tennis again, but along the way there should be memories of triumphs that rise above the challenges that these times engender. Existence can hinge on more than tennis, but the game will survive a pandemic with a lot of patience and ingenuity.

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By Cheryl Jones

It’s April. Tennis hasn’t been cancelled, but it’s been sidelined by something much bigger than the sport itself. The Covid-19 virus has taken center stage. It’s doubtful that Rafael Nadal will be taking his yearly bite out of the Coupe des Mousquetaires, even though Roland Garros has merely been rescheduled for September. Paris’ delay could eventually lead to cancellation, gauging the way things are now. Roger Federer is likely having mixed feelings about the cancellation of most major events that he was planning to skip anyway, having had knee surgery quite recently. Andy Murray has probably been weighing the events of the day, trying to decide if he should retire and become an expert on the rare species of bats that have taken up residence on his property – or maybe not.

 

There’s a likelihood that the stars of the tennis world are doing just what everyone else is doing – sheltering in place, reading that book that’s been on the shelf gathering dust, or maybe like Federer trying to hit balls against a wall to get back into condition. Of course it is snowing and windy and cold in Switzerland this time of year, but as Chaucer once said – time waits for no man. Evidently, not even Roger Federer.

Having a good deal of time on my hands, having read three of those dusty books and missing tennis, my mind began to wander. I thought about others that were confined to their homes, much as I am here in Southern California. Because this was a rather unplanned sequestering, most folks have had to make-do with what they have on hand.

Last week, ESPN, hungry for sports news, where thanks to the virus, none exists, showed Federer hitting balls against a backboard on his private court. I imagined that he had to make sure there were no gut strings involved that would grow gummy in the wet and wild weather. Then I thought, what if his supply of synthetic strings ran low? A crafty guy like Federer would have something on hand. He would have known that he needed to rehab and there should have been a way to make that happen. What better way to get in shape for tennis than with tennis?

I imagined that he called his good friend Rafa and the two of them surely would have chatted about the dilemma Roger was having. He needed to rehab, but he had way too much gut and not enough synthetic string. As problems go, this should have been inconsequential, in the scheme of things, but it wasn’t. They both knew that their livelihood should not depend on the lack of suitable manmade product. The chitchat that the two greats exchanged would have been light and airy – How are the kids? How about the newlyweds? How’s the fishing going? Kids are fine; marriage is fine; fishing isn’t what it once was, but life is good. Wait – fishing… Rafa might have remembered that he left a tackle box in Roger’s huge garage. Recalling the contents, he would have said, “Check the stash of fishing line, No?”

A glimmer of hope would have painted a smile on Roger’s face and off he would go to check the garage for the tackle box. Looking in every crevice of the space that was carefully catalogued and organized for convenience, he might finally have spotted the box. It was filled with hooks and lures. Not much in the way of fishing line, but when he moved the top drawer, there under it all, was a supply of fishing line. It would have been cold out there. Roger would have stuffed his pockets with spools of various test weights. (Fishing line is gauged by the size of fish it could be strong enough to reel in.)

He would have jogged back into the house, thrilled with his find. After all, the sporting goods stores were all on hiatus because the places had been declared non-essential businesses. The thought of that had left him muttering about who made those decisions? But, he would have headed for his stringing machine, hoping all the while for a miracle.

He would have tried the 16-pound test line first. It was easy to evenly string the test racquet he had selected. But when he struck a ball, it nearly sliced the little green orb into pieces. By then, his wife, Mirka would have entered the picture and procured the strangely strung racquet for slicing hardboiled eggs to make uniquely cubed egg salad sandwiches. With those snacks, their four kids would have memories to share with their own children, someday. Who but a child of the father of an invention could have been so lucky?

A determined Roger would have moved on to another test case (or test racquet) then. He would next have tried the 40-pound test. The curly string would have been a clear example of over-kill, but he persevered. After it had seemed satisfactory, the excited Federer would have swiftly donned his outside clothing and ambled to the soggy court. In mere seconds, his racquet would have been immune to the wet, icy air. He would have swatted ball after ball toward his anxious opponent – the wall. Satisfied to having solved his pressing issues, at least for the day, he would have again dialed up his Spanish friend. The line would have crackled and a friendly voice would have answered, No?

Yes! Would surely have been Roger’s reply. The two friends would have marveled at their ability to think outside the box, even though the solution had been in the tackle box all along.

There will be tennis again, but along the way there should be memories of triumphs that rise above the challenges that these times engender. Existence can hinge on more than tennis, but the game will survive a pandemic with a lot of patience and ingenuity.

 

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Neil Stubley: “It is impossible to host Wimbledon in late summer because the courts would become slippery”

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Wimbledon groundsman Neil Stubley explained to the British newspaper that the change of date was not possible at the All England Club. It is impossible to stage Wimbledon in late summer. Wimbledon became the highest-profile tennis tournament to be called off due to the coronavirus. The All England Club confirmed that the 134th edition of the Championships will be held from 28th June to 11th July 2021.

 

According to Stubley it is impossible to host Wimbledon in late summer because the courts would become slippery much earlier than in July. It would shorten the window for matches making it extremely difficult to organize many matches between 11.30am to 17pm.

“In late summer the sun gets lower in the sky. The dew point on the grass arrives earlier and the courts get slippery. The window for play becomes shorter at both ends. As much as it would be lovely to play in late summer and autumn. It’s not possible. We have indeed staged Davis Cup matches in September, but the the play would start at 11.30 or noon and finish by 5pm. Whereas, at the Championships, you are going from 11am until 9 pm every day. To get through 670 matches over 13 matches is a challenge in the height of summer, let alone at other times of the year”, said Stubley.

Stubley said that he will miss the adrenaline rush he gets on the first day of Wimbledon.

 “One of the beauties about my job is that to showcase my work to the world every day. When the eyes of the world are looking to how Centre Court is for that first day of the Championships, it’s always a nervous feeling. It will be a funny feeling, through June and July, not to have that adrenaline rush again”, said Stubley.

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