Justin Gimelstob has announced he is resigning from the board of the Association of Tennis Professionals and will not seek another term in a move that could clear the way for Chris Kermode’s contract as ATP executive chairman and president to be renewed.
Gimelstob has been under pressure to step aside since his arrest for an attack on another man in October of last year. The former professional player pleaded no contest to felony battery charges last week and was sentenced to three years’ probation, as well being ordered to perform community service and enter 52 weeks of anger management therapy.
His decision came after significant pressure from tour pros and tournament organisers who became increasingly exasperated at having to field questions about Gimelstob’s conduct. Wimbledon barred him from its royal box while leading players like Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka registered their concerns about his continuing involvement on the board.
Gimelstob is thought to have played a leading role in ousting Kermode as the ATP’s executive chairman and president in March. He was a strong proponent of the view that Kermode sided with tournament organisers when the ATP came to decide on prize money for the tour.
Now that the former player no longer has a vote on the ATP board, there has been speculation that Kermode could again seek for his contract to be renewed. As it presently stands, Kermode has to step down when his contract expires at the end of the year.
Gimelstob was one of three representatives on the board elected by the player council. The other three places on the board are made up of tournament representatives. When Kermode’s contract came up for renewal, the three player representatives, Gimelstob, David Edges and Alex Inglot voted against a renewal while the three tournament representatives voted in favour. The ATP constitution requires a total of two player representatives and two tournament representatives to vote in favour of any decision.
Last year the Telegraph reported that the source of long-standing tensions between Gimelstob and Kermode was the former’s claims he deserved a seven-figure commission for introducing Kosmos to the ATP in 2016. The investment group has subsequently bankrolled an overhaul of the Davis Cup. Kermode was reported to have refused the request on the basis that it would not be appropriate for a board member to receive such a fee.
The election for ATP board members is set for May 14 in Rome. There are 15 candidates for Gimelstob’s position.
“I’m stepping down because my job is to work on the sport’s behalf and the players’ behalf, and in my situation I’ve become too much of a distraction and a liability,” Gimelstob told The New York Times.