The process to replace Justin Gimelstob on the powerful ATP board will be far from straightforward with a series of high profile names contesting for the position.
On Monday 42-year-old Gimelstob resigned from his position as player representative for the Americas region amid growing calls for his removal. The American has been embroiled in a high-profile assault case, which resulted in him receiving a 60-day community service, three-year probation and 52 weeks of anger management classes. Leading up to his statement, both Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray have said that it was inappropriate for Gimelstob to continue in the role.
Under the current structure within the governing body of men’s tennis, there are three players representatives. They are voted in by the player council, which is headed by Novak Djokovic, and their job is to represent their views in board meetings. Members also take part in critical decision making, such as the vote to remove Chris Kermode from his position as CEO that took place earlier this year. They receive a fixed salary of $100,000 each year.
ATP Board of Directors
-David Egdes (interim)
-Justin Gimelstob (now resigned)
According to an official list obtained by tennis.life, 15 people have come forward for the newly vacant position. Out of those entries, Tim Mayotte has very public about his intentions. Announcing on social media that he will apply for the position. Mayotte is a former top 10 player who won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games. Since retiring from the professional tour in 1992, he has worked as an agent for Greg Rusedski and Amanda Coetzer. In 2009 he became a national coach for the USTA.
Speaking with Christopher Clarey from The New York Times, Mayotte said that more needs to be done to tackle conflicts of interest. During Gimelstob’s tenure, his production company held the contract to produce the ATP World Tour uncovered program for the ATP.
“This needs to be addressed — there’s no question — both from the tournament directors’ side and the players’ side,” Mayotte said. “I was guilty of it too back in the day, but those were different times. The stakes weren’t nearly as high. What I’m going to propose to the players is that it basically becomes a full-time position, that the representatives on the board are on the road with the players and don’t have any other interests except for the players. It has to be that way now.”
Another challenger is ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert. Somebody who won 20 ATP titles during his playing career before finding further success as a coach. Working alongside Andre Agassi, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and others.
Nicolás Lapentti previously served as the president of his country’s tennis federation and continues to sit on the board. The Ecuadorian will be hoping that experience will help him take over from Gimelstob. Although other candidates as equally as qualified. Another contender is doubles legend Mark Knowles, who was a member of the ATP player council between 2002-2004 and previously served as vice-president.
If the council wants a younger and fresher voice, Dani Vallverdu will likely be favoured. He is known more for his achievements as a coach than a player. Guiding Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov on the tour. Last year the 33-year-old was voted as the coach representative for the council.
The list will be reduced down to a final five over the coming weeks. The a final decision and vote will take place on May 14th during the Italian Masters in Rome.
List of candidates
- Brandon Burke (JAM/CAN)
- Weller Evans (USA)
- Brad Gilbert (USA)
- Jose Hernandez-Fernandez (DOM)
- Mark Knowles (BAH)
- Steve Krulevitz (USA)
- Luke Jensen (USA)
- Nicolás Lapentti (ECU)
- Peter Lawler (USA)
- Tim Mayotte (USA)
- Austin Nunn (USA)
- Nicolas Pereira (VEN)
- Michael Russell (USA)
- Daniel Vallverdu (VEN)
- Modesto (Tito) Vasquez (ARG)
Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?
Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?
In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.
In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.
Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.
“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.
These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.
“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.
Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.
This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.
Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career
Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.
Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.
Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.
Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.
“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.
“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.
David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati
David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.
Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.
The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.
Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open 2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.
Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.
“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”
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