Stan Wawrinka didn’t hold back as he slammed the current ATP Player Council in a letter published in The Times. The three-time Grand Slam champion voiced concerns a “worrying decline in moral standards” in men’s tennis after the controversy surrounding Justin Gimelstob’s continued role.
Wawrinka has been perhaps the strongest voice against Gimelstob, asking him to quit his role on the Association of Tennis Professionals board after the American was sentenced following assault charges.
Following the verdict, several former players, including Martina Navratilova and Pat Cash, have suggested Gimelstob should not continue with his ATP role. But the most prominent active players were Grand Slam champions Andy Murray and Wawrinka, who tweeted about it as well.
Now, Wawrinka has torn into the current ATP player representatives, saying he wants to be represented by people with clear, strong ethical values. The 34-year-old also said he was “concerned about the direction tennis is heading in.”
“I am relieved that Justin Gimelstob has finally had the decency to resign from the ATP board after being sentenced for assault, but I am dismayed by how long this took. I am also concerned that many within the game think this episode is now over, and are simply relieved at having avoided any negative press themselves. This is not good enough. We are ALL accountable and we must ALL learn from this,” he was quoted as saying in The Times.
There is no place in our sport for those who behave like Justin. The lack of responses from people involved in the game, particularly at the beginning of this saga, when he was charged last December, was alarming. This is a situation where silence amounts to complicity,” he added.
Gimelstob, himself an ex-professional tennis player, pleaded no contest to felony battery charges and was given three years’ probation and 60 hours of community service by a Los Angeles court on April 22.
The 41-year-old was in court following an incident in October last year that saw him accused of attacking former friend Randall Kaplan while the venture capitalist, his wife and their two-year-old daughter were trick-or-treating on Halloween.
However, the American was charged in December but was allowed to continue his role on the council, which in March took the disputed call to oust Chris Kermode, the ATP’s executive chairman and president.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal ripped top-ranked Djokovic, current president of the ATP Player Council, for failing to contact them over the decision to terminate Englishman Kermode, whose reign began in 2014.
Gimelstob along with fellow player representatives David Egdes and Alex Inglot had against renewing Kermode’s contract at the end of the year.
You can read the full letter from Wawrinka here. It is behind a paywall.