Djokovic on Gimelstob: There’s a lot of work that needs addressing

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In May, Justin Gimelstob resigned his position on the ATP Player Council and his post as a Tennis Channel broadcaster after he pled no contest to a felony batter charge, which was then reduced to a misdemeanor.

Early at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic seemed to imply that he was open to Justin returning to the Board. And, after I asked him, he said would read the the disturbing and graphic impact statements made in court by Randall Kaplan, (whom he fought with in front of trick or treating children in Los Angeles on Halloween), and his wife Madison, who stated she had a miscarriage after the event.

Novak repeatedly said he would get back to us “next time.” So at Wimbledon I sent the victim statements to his manager, who said he’d shown them to Novak. But the No. 1 player in the world said he didn’t want to talk about it and, since then, he had not gotten back to me or, I believe, anyone else.

So today, I broached what I felt was an old but still important question relating to leadership and responsibility. Novak replied, saying that the event was unfortunate and that Justin is working on his issues. He added that Gimelstob is no longer part of the ATP’s political system and he’s not certain about his future. In the end, Novak chose not to directly address what happened in the brutal Halloween night fight after which Kaplan stated that he thought he would die, a life-changing moment that greatly altered the career of a talented and extremely high profile commentator, coach and political figure. 

SIMONS: Hi, Novak. First of all, congratulations on your incredible Wimbledon performance. As you know, in our great sport there are fun moments and not so fun moments. I’m going to ask a tough question, so please don’t push me away. Earlier in the year, it was said that we all have to learn from what [happened] and have accountability in relationship to what happened in the Justin Gimelstob matter. At Wimbledon you said you would read the victim impact reports and would get back to us…Have you read those reports?

DJOKOVIC: Yes.
SIMONS: And could you please comment on them?

DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, he has taken the responsibility for his actions and what has happened that night so he went back to deal with this himself. Obviously there is a lot of work in his private life that needs addressing and that’s all there is. He is not part of the ATP political system at the moment and I think it’s for the best for all of us.

What [the] future holds for him and for us, we don’t know. I’m still in touch with him, I still communicate with Justin and that’s all there is. He’s going to go back, he’s going to try to handle this matter in the best possible way.

I really wish him all the best, it’s unfortunate that that has happened because I think he’s a great asset, as I’ve mentioned at Wimbledon and before for the players but, you know, he has taken the responsibility. I’ve read what you wanted me to read at Wimbledon and that’s all there is to it.

SIMONS: Was it disturbing to you?
PRESS HANDLER: I said just one question.
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