It is no secret that Justin Gimelstob can be a very polarising individual. There was a question over his behaviour at Wimbledon this year when John Isner, who he coaches part-time, was playing Kevin Anderson on Centre Court. Gimelstob came in for a fair bit of negative publicity on that occasion.
The American has been in the limelight again in more recent weeks but for some reason the matter has not really garnered the attention that could have been expected. There was publicity about him allegedly verbally and physically assaulting a man named Randall Kaplan in front of that man’s wife and two-year-old child.
Gimelstob was arrested but was later released on $50,000 bail.
Now, I am not taking sides here. There are two sides to every story but Gimelstob is an ATP board member and Australian player Lleyton Hewitt has slammed Gimelstob’s alleged behaviour and said the ATP must lead by example with regards to Gimelstob’s position at the ATP.
John Isner jumped to the defence of Gimelstob and suggested that Hewitt should not be interfering as he does not know all the facts. Isner said Hewitt has had his own history and points to the Australian’s own verbalising behaviour when he played James Blake at the US Open many years ago. Isner says he has not called for Hewitt to be stood down or the like from his roles at Tennis Australia, in particular being Davis Cup captain.
I don’t think I can agree with Isner here. He is almost comparing apples to oranges; the circumstances are very different. There was no physical assault in the Hewitt matter and what happened was back in 2002.
The right thing for Gimelstob to do is to step down from the ATP board while this matter of alleged assault is investigated. If his name is cleared, then he steps right back in and if not then he must be dismissed. That really is the only course of action. He needs to step aside from his position.
He has apparently stepped to one side from his duties at The Tennis Channel so why would stepping aside from the ATP board be any different? It is not an admission of guilt at all, but it does allow due process.
The ATP can fill that board space with a temporary replacement, they did that last month when Australian Roger Rasheed was pushed out and former board member David Egdes from The Tennis Channel took his place as a temporary measure.