Attorney Defends Justin Gimelstob In Letter Sent To ATP As Wawrinka Joins Calls For His Removal - UBITENNIS
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Attorney Defends Justin Gimelstob In Letter Sent To ATP As Wawrinka Joins Calls For His Removal

The two-time grand slam mixed doubles champion is rapidly losing grip on his position in men’s tennis.

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It appears that the controversy-stricken Justin Gimelstob is going to fight for his position on the ATP Board despite growing calls for him to step down immediately.

 

The 42-year-old recently pleaded no contest to the assault of former friend Randall Kaplan. A legal term where the offender pleads neither guilty or not guilty in return for a less severe sentence. On October 31st Kaplan alleged that Gimelstob ‘’punched him in the head and face more than 50 times’ in front of his wife and young daughter. During the trial, Kaplan’s wife said she suffered a miscarriage as a result of the stress caused by the incident. Last week the former American player was issued with a 60-day community service, a three-year probation and 52 weeks in anger management.

Gimelstob is currently serving as one of the three player representatives for the powerful ATP Board. On May 14th the Player’s council, which is headed by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, will vote on his future of the role. He faces a tough time trying to maintain his role within the governing body of men’s tennis. Besides the battery charge, he has been involved in other controversies in the past.

“It is important to know that there have been no findings and determinations by a trier of fact that Mr. Gimelstob is guilty of committing any crime. There was no trial; there was solely Mr. Gimelstob’s ‘no contest’ plea.” Lawyer Shawn Holley wrote said in a letter sent to the ATP on April 28th.

In a four-page document submitted by Holley, he has now hit out at the statements made by Kaplan and his family during the trial. Saying that he objected on numerous occasions to what was said and no cross-contamination took place. This was due to the no contest plea, which Gimelstob opted to do in the hope of ‘minimising the media scrutiny.’

“The single charge brought by the district attorney against Mr Gimelstob was punishable as either a misdemeanour or the more serious charge of a felony. It is crucial to recognize that both the District Attorney and the court – after considering all the information, which did not even include Mr Gimelstob’s statement of what occurred – determined that Mr Firstobs conduct only amounted to a misdemeanour.” The letter reads.

The full letter

(click to enlarge)

Wawrinka weighs in

Despite efforts to save Gimelstob’s role within the ATP, more people have come out against him. On Tuesday, Stan Wawrinka became one of the first high-profile players to publicly call for his dismissal. Branding the current situation as ‘a shameful period in our sport.’

“Players need to speak out. Justin Gimelstob has been convicted of a violent assault. It simply can not be possible for anyone to condone this type of behaviour and worse support it. In any other business or sport we would not be discussing this.” Wawrinka wrote.
“The ATP council needs to do something about this and finally end this conversation and shameful period in our great sport.”

Wawrinka’s comments follows that made by Andy Murray over the weekend. Former world No.1 Murray said he doesn’t understand how Gimelstob could continue as a player representative.

“I don’t see how, with everything that has gone on, how it’s possible for him to remain in a position of authority or management at the ATP right now.” He said.

Neither Wawrinka or Murray is on the Player’s council, who will make the decision concerning the future of Gimelstob. One member, Vasek Pospisil, previously said in a statement to tennis.life ‘If he (Gimelstob) were to run again for that position, myself and the players of the tour would be fortunate to have him for another term.’ However, that part of Pospisil’s statement has since been deleted for unknown reasons.

Amid the controversy, a series of notable figures have come forward to seek to replace Gimelstob on the ATP Board. Ranging from former top 10 player Tim Mayotte to Brad Gilbert. Gilbert has previously worked as a coach alongside the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. It has also been reported that Grigor Dimitrov’s coach Dani Vallverdu has expressed interest. However, Mayotte is the only person to declare his intention publicly.

Gimelstob and his challengers required a majority of backing from the 10-member player’s council.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.

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Image via https://mobile.twitter.com/ESPNtenis

World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

 

The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

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French Player Tests Positive For COVID-19 Hours After Australian Open Defeat

The world No.40 was preparing to leave the country.

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Image via https://twitter.com/HumbertUgo/

Ugo Humbert is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 following his first round loss at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

 

Humbert, who was the 29th seed in the men’s draw, is understood to have produced a positive result during a routine procedure players have to conduct before they leave the country. It is unclear as to if he is currently suffering from any symptoms.

Humbert crashed out of the tournament to compatriot Richard Gasquet, who won their match 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, in three hours and 18 minutes. Gasquet also tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia earlier this month but was given the all clear to play at Melbourne Park following a negative test. There was a 15-day period between the 35-year-old announcing on Twitter he had the virus and his first match against Humbert.

“I was tested positive on my exit test yesterday and I’ll stay one more week in isolation in Australia,” Humbert wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks for your support and see you soon.”

The 23-year-old has started his season by winning one out of four matches played. Prior to the Australian Open, he scored one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup in the group stages. However, following that victory he suffered losses to Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini.

Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Humbert’s positive test.

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