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Djokovic forced onto back foot in explosive Wimbledon press conference - 'There is no reason for you to attack me'

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 4 Jul 2019
  • Djokovic grilled in tense Wimbledon press conference
  • World No. 1 quizzed about continued defence of the disgraced Justin Gimelstob
Novak Djokovic (PA Images)

World No. 1 and defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was involved in a heated and tense press conference after his second round win on Wednesday when quizzed about his continued defence of disgraced former ATP board member Justin Gimelstob.

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After cruising to a straight sets win over Denis Kudla to reach the third round, Djokovic - who is the President of the player’s council - faced a much tougher challenge in his post-match press conference, where he was grilled by media in regards to his relationship and ongoing support of Gimelstob, who pleaded ‘no contest’ to a battery charge in a Los Angeles court in April for a savage and violent attack on Randall Kaplan in front of his wife and child.

Gimelstob, after attempting to plead innocence through the media in the lead-up to the verdict, eventually resigned from his role as a player representative on the ATP board in May, but Djokovic has continued to support the American.

Novak Djokovic (PA Images)
However, when asked if he had read victim impact statements from Kaplan and his wife, which detailed how they attributed the miscarriage of their baby to the assault, Djokovic was alarmingly unaware and forced to retreat.

“I will read it. I haven’t read it,” the 15-time major champion said. “I’ve spoken to Justin. He has explained to me that he still is going through the process, the legal process. He’s not done yet on the court. Obviously I know only his side of the story.
“I’ve had, as I mentioned before, a really good relationship with Justin. I think he needs to take time to deal with this serious matter.
“If he in the end of this whole process is proven guilty, I mean, obviously there is no support from my side for him to be part of the sport.”

Djokovic was then informed that by pleading no contest under California law, Gimelstob was officially considered guilty.

That didn’t sit well with Djokovic, who fired back at the journalist for ‘attacking’ him.

“Listen, I will go through the documents. I can speak to you next time,” he said. “There is no reason for you to attack me.
“I just don’t feel it is necessary for you to point a finger at me specifically for something that he has or hasn’t done.
“There is no reason for you to talk to me in that way because I feel like you’re pointing the guilt at me for some reason for what he has done or for supporting him.
“I am telling you I have a very good relationship with him, and I always have. I’m not going to lie about that. But if he is guilty about committing a crime, as you said, or whatever has happened that night, that obviously changes things around for his future role in our sport.
“But if that is not the case, then I’m just saying, if that is not the case, then he is a huge asset for our sport and our players.”

Djokovic will face Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Friday.


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Djokovic forced onto back foot in explosive Wimbledon press conference - "There is no reason for you to attack me"

World No. 1 and defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was involved in a heated and tense press conference after his second round win on Wednesday when quizzed about his continued defence of disgraced former ATP board member Justin Gimelstob.

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