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Wawrinka condemns 'worrying decline in moral standards' after Gimelstob scandal

Hannah Wilks in News 3 May 2019
  • Stan Wawrinka voices concern over 'worrying decline in moral standards' in tennis
  • In letter to The Times, Wawrinka condemns those who allowed Justin Gimelstob to continue in board position after being charged with assault
  • 'There is no place in our sport for people who behave like Justin'
Stan Wawrinka (PA Sport)

Stan Wawrinka has spoken out about what he perceives to be a 'worrying decline in moral standards' in tennis.

The ramifications of the scandal surrounding ex-ATP Board member Justin Gimelstob continue to be felt as Stan Wawrinka is the latest to step into the fray.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka, currently ranked world no. 33, has written a letter to The Times in which he condemns Gimelstob but also those who enabled the American to remain in his position as a Player Representative on the ATP Board after he was charged with assault in December.

'This episode has left many players, myself included, concerned about the direction tennis is heading in,' Wawrinka wrote in his letter.

Wawrinka said he was 'dismayed' that it took Gimelstob so long to resign from the ATP Board, something he finally did on Wednesday, and continued:

'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.'

Gimelstob pleaded no contest to the charge of battery and was sentenced to three years' probation and 60 days community service as a result of his 'unprovoked' attack on Randall Kaplan in front of Kaplan's pregnant wife and small daughter last Hallowe'en. 

But he appeared to have no plans to resign from the ATP Board, meaning that the ATP Players' Council would have had to vote on 14 May on whether or not Gimelstob should continue to represent them.

Criticism multiplied, with several contenders putting their names forward to challenge Gimelstob for his seat. But the most prominent players in tennis have been quiet, with Rafael Nadal declining to give his opinion during last week's Barcelona Open. 

'This is a situation where silence amounts to complicity,' Wawrinka wrote in his letter - surely a clear challenge to Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. 

Andy Murray was the first to speak up, telling The Telegraph: 'I don’t see how, with everything that has gone on, how it’s possible for him to remain in a position of authority or management at the ATP right now.'

Wawrinka took to Twitter to voice his opinion.

Gimelstob finally resigned from the ATP Board on Wednesday, but only after reportedly travelling to Spain to deliver the news in person to Novak Djokovic, currently president of the ATP Player Council. The world no. 1 has come to be seen as closely associated with Gimelstob and to have worked with him to orchestrate the ouster of ATP President Chris Kermode, with the ATP Board voting not to renew his contract after it expires in December.

'Many players feel that they were not represented properly throughout the last few months, during which so much has happened politically. I agree with them. I do not want to be associated with anyone who played a part in this, let alone be represented by them. I want to be represented by people with clear, strong ethical values,' Wawrinka wrote.

Wawrinka does not refer to Djokovic or anybody else by name apart from Gimelstob, but seems to be alluding to the Serb when he writes: 

'This political chaos is caused by a handful of people with personal agendas and, more disturbingly, with no alternative plan to follow up on their concerted plot to remove Chris Kermode, the executive chairman and president, earlier this year.'

Wawrinka's letter and its not-so-subtle challenge to Djokovic as an ally of Gimelstob, and to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the sport's most prominent players who did not speak up about the situation in the wake of Gimelstob's sentencing, are sure to be the subject of much discussion at next week's Madrid Masters, with all the top players in one place for the first time since March.

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Wawrinka condemns 'worrying decline in moral standards' after Gimelstob scandal

Stan Wawrinka writes letter to The Times condemning those who allowed disgraced Justin Gimelstob to remain in his position: 'I do not want to be associated with anyone who played a part in this, let alone be represented by them.'

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