Mar/19

13

“To protect the politics of the sport”


By Scoop Malinowski

While pro tennis shines on the court with sensational tennis action from the likes of Roger Federer, Yoshihito Nishioka, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime, there are some worrying activities happening behind the scenes.

The ATP Board of Directors just fired popular ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode who presided over successful years at the helm, a move that has ignited controversy and concern. Was it a power play to install a new boss with hidden motives and agendas?

Then there is the curious case of ATP Board member Justin Gimelstob, who is presently involved in a felony case where he has been accused of striking a man in the head with 50 assault punches, including threatening the man’s life. The case is ongoing but the Tennis Channel, where Gimelstob works as an analyst, won’t even mention the case. Gimelstob has taken a leave of absence. The same Tennis Channel broadcast crew didn’t hesitate to unload heavy criticism on politically conservative top 75 player Tennys Sandgren for some controversial tweets he has made in the past. Yet Gimelstob’s case is being treated as if it never happened by the Tennis Channel? Hmmmmm.

Another strange case is the accusations against CAA top tennis agent Amit Naor who was accused of repeated sexual harassment charges by an assistant named Stephanie Lopez.

Naor has repped players like Raonic, Djokovic, Safin. Another now former CAA agent, who repped Tiafoe, Fritz, Barty and Kokkinakis saw his own career crash because of his support for Lopez and standing up against Naor’s disgusting, unprofessional behavior.

This agent, named Richard Montz, shared a message which should spark some concerns about the direction professional tennis could be heading…

“Unfortunately I don’t represent Tiafoe, Fritz, Barty or Thanasi anymore. I started blowing the whistle internally (at CAA) and as I got louder and on the record, they retaliated and ultimately sabotaged my relationships, my recruiting and negotiations to the point that it just became impossible for me to hold on to them. Especially when my own colleagues were working against me. Any light you can shed on this situation I know will help. Not for me per se, but because I know that tennis politics are going dark. Why Federer said his concerns about the politics last night on the Tennis Channel desk – the goal now is to help correct the politics of the sport, stop the undercurrent of cover ups, and stop the bargaining chips everyone continues to pass around. We have to operate by the only moral code to know the truth (in all areas), stop the injustice, and have the courage to stand up to and with colleagues, friends and execs in the business.”

Kermode, Gimelstob, Naor, Stephanie Lopez…is tennis, seemingly at the height of success and on the verge of such a bright future, taking an ill-advised turn into the dark? What will be the consequences of this power play? Who will benefit, who will lose? What is the moral judgement behind the cover ups and corrupt forces and how could it effect the sport, the action we see on the courts around the world?

4 comments

  • Gregory Victor · March 13, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    The truth shall set tennis free.

  • catherine · March 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Scoop – I assume the reason noone’s talking about Gimelstob is that the case hasnt come to court yet and comments could be deemed prejudicial at this point.

    It’s posible things are no worse than they were years ago, about ‘cover-ups’ and ‘corrupt forces’ – we just know an awful lot more about them now. There were plenty of scandals which never saw the light of day, not then at least. People talk and tweet and swamp the internet 24/7.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 13, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    That’s a very interesting debut comment Gregory Victor, thank you 🙂 Welcome to the site.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 13, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Catherine, I know you know, then and now, the public only finds out what the media lets them and the media today is not investigative enough, or daring enough to dig deep to get the secret stuff. I know in tennis and in boxing there are tons of stories that never see the light of day and these are huge stories, worthy of National Enquirer covers. The Kermode firing is showing there is a major battle for power going on behind the scenes.

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