Justin Gimelstob steps down from ATP board following assault sentencing

Justin Gimelstob is resigning from the ATP Board of Directors. The announcement, via The New York Times, comes over a week after he pled no contest to a felony battery charge that was later reduced to a misdemeanor by the presiding judge. The charge stemmed from Gimelstob's violent assault on his ex-wife's friend, Randall Kaplan, in front of Kaplan's pregnant wife and child last Halloween.

According to the Times, Gimelstob flew from Los Angeles to Spain to inform Novak Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player Council, that he was stepping down. Here is Gimelstob's statement to the NYT:

"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 said in a telephone interview from Spain. "I take responsibility for that, and I take responsibility for the mistakes I made Halloween night."

The Los Angeles District Attorney sentenced Gimelstob to three years' probation, 60 hours of community service and he will have to complete one year of anger management therapy. He has a history of reported violence, as The Daily Telegraph wrote last November, which allegedly includes assaulting his ex-wife, breaking into her home and assaulting another one of her friends.

Gimelstob was elected to the board in June 2008. While the Tennis Channel commentator and former ATP professional player may not be a household name, he's been a major decision maker in the sport. As one of the three ATP player representatives -- David Egdes and Alex Inglot are the others -- Gimelstob was part of the vote to not extend ATP president Chris Kermode's contract. He's a founder and owner of the production company Without Limits, which is still under contract with the ATP and the USTA, and also is a former professional tennis player Lindsay Davenport's manager. He is an unpaid coach to ATP player John Isner.

In the days leading up to Gimelstob's resignation from the board, prominent tennis figures have spoken out against, him including Andy Murray, Stanislas Wawrinka, Martina Navratilova and Lleyton Hewitt.

"Players need to speak out," Wawrinka wrote in a tweet posted on Tuesday. "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."

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