Tennis Prose



Facing Greatness: Justin Gimelstob

Next up in our “Facing Greatness” series, Justin Gimelstob, former ATP no. 63 and winner of 13 doubles titles and two mixed Grand Slams in 1998 with Venus Williams (AO and Roland Garros), contemplates and answers the question: What were the two best performances that were ever played against you on a tennis court?

Justin Gimelstob: “Agassi beat me so badly on center court (Ashe Stadium) of the US Open. I had won a five-setter first round cramped badly (vs. Edwin Kempes in 2002, 64 36 63 67 63). Could barely walk. The match with Andre was about to be canceled because of rain and then the clouds suddenly parted. It was the worst, one-sided wind I’ve ever played in. Couldn’t get the ball to go anywhere against it and couldn’t control the ball when I had it at my back. And he was dialed in. I could barely win points. It was brutal. (Final score: 60 61 61.)”

“I’m sure there are plenty of others. Let me think…”

“Roddick beat me in the second round of Washington DC one year and it was like playing a different sport. He was serving with a bazooka. He would hold serve in 45 secs and I felt like I was serving with a bee bee gun. I lost 6262.”

(Note: The loss to Roddick was also in August 2002, just weeks before the loss to Agassi at US Open.)

“I actually played a lot of good players very close. I lost a lot of close matches.”

Research proves that Gimelstob was indeed remarkably competitive with some of the greatest titans in tennis history.

Gimelstob played Roger Federer twice – losing 75 63 at Miami Open in 2000 and 67 76 75 in 1999 at Heilbronn Challenger.

Gimelstob lost to Rafael Nadal in their lone meeting in Beijing in 2005 – 57 64 64.

Gimelstob played Lleyton Hewitt four times and won the first meeting in Washington DC in 1998 63 26 62.

He had three competitive losses to Hewitt – 1998 in Singapore 67 62 76; 2005 at Wimbledon 76 64 75; 2005 Bangkok 64 57 76 (11-9).

Gimelstob did beat Andy Murray in their one and only meeting in Newport in 2006, 61 76.

Gimelstob was 1-3 career vs. Agassi, with a straight set win in their first clash in Los Angeles.

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 1, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Agassi made the US Open final in 2002, losing to Pete.



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