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Djokovic sounds open to Gimelstob regaining role in tennis

May 6, 2019
FILE - In this July 23, 2008, file photo, Justin Gimelstob, then a member of Kastles' World Team Tennis, smiles during a match in Washington. Now a tennis broadcaster and coach, Gimelstob pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault for attacking a former friend in Los Angeles on Halloween 2017. The district attorney's office says the 42-year-old former pro player was sentenced Monday, April 22, 2019, to three years of probation, 60 days of community service and a year's worth of anger management classes. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
FILE - In this July 23, 2008, file photo, Justin Gimelstob, then a member of Kastles' World Team Tennis, smiles during a match in Washington. Now a tennis broadcaster and coach, Gimelstob pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault for attacking a former friend in Los Angeles on Halloween 2017. The district attorney's office says the 42-year-old former pro player was sentenced Monday, April 22, 2019, to three years of probation, 60 days of community service and a year's worth of anger management classes. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

MADRID (AP) — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic sounds open to the idea of Justin Gimelstob’s eventual return to an influential role in tennis following his recent resignation from the ATP board of directors.

Speaking Monday at the Madrid Open, Djokovic said Gimelstob did the right thing by stepping down after being sentenced in a U.S. court for attacking a former friend.

Djokovic also said he would be OK with soon-to-leave ATP executive chairman and president Chris Kermode seeking a return to that job now that Gimelstob is no longer on the decision-making board that oversees the men’s tennis circuit.

Roger Federer said Sunday that Kermode “maybe should be put back into ... the mix.”

Gimelstob is an ex-player, coach and TV commentator who pleaded no contest last month and was sentenced to three years of probation, 60 days of community service and a year’s worth of anger management classes. Prosecutors said the 42-year-old American attacked Randall Kaplan as they trick-or-treated with their kids in Los Angeles on Halloween in 2017.

Kermode’s departure at the end of 2019 was announced in March after a vote by the ATP board.

Djokovic called Gimelstob’s resignation, announced last week in a Facebook post, “a wise decision,” adding, “the whole case was just posing so much pressure and obstacles for the tour, in general.”

“It’s unfortunate, because I think he has been probably the biggest asset that players had in the last 10-plus years that he’s been on the tour, representing players,” Djokovic said. “But at the same time, these are kind of unfortunate circumstances, and he needs to go back and deal with that — deal with that case and try to find the right balance and the right state of mind — before he eventually tries to come back.”

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