Stan Wawrinka Rips ATP Leadership In Scathing Letter

by Tom Gainey | May 3rd, 2019, 7:47 pm

Stan Wawrinka isn’t happy one bit for how the leaders at the ATP, which governs the men’s tour, handled the Justin Gimelstob situation.

After a few tweets earlier in the week, the Swiss unloaded on the tour in a letter to the London Times, posted in full here from Reddit:


The past six months have been eventful for the ATP and men’s professional tennis. Sadly, politics have overshadowed the action on the courts, and I feel compelled to express my views on this regrettable period in our sport. This episode has left many players, myself included, concerned about the direction tennis is heading in.

I started playing at the age of eight, the son of a farmer. My parents and this sport have taught me about real values, fighting hard with passion, commitment and determination, but most importantly with integrity and honesty. I have always been taught to stand up for what I believe in, and I believe that anyone associated with tennis should espouse these values.

What I have witnessed in the last few months is a worrying decline in moral standards.

I am relieved that Justin Gimelstob has finally had the decency to resign from the ATP board after being sentenced for assault, but I am dismayed by how long this took. I am also concerned that many within the game think this episode is now over, and are simply relieved at having avoided any negative press themselves. This is not good enough. We are ALL accountable and we must ALL learn from this.

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.

My fellow players on the council should never have been put in the position where they had responsibility for deciding whether Justin should have remained in his position. It is the duty of the board representatives to lead by example and protect the players. They should have immediately managed this controversy. Instead they shamefully voted in December for Justin to continue with his duties.

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.

Some people feel that the governance structure of the ATP does not work, that it’s too cumbersome, impossible to represent both players and tournaments. But I fundamentally believe in this system. The fault lies not in the structure, but in the calibre of people within it. There are numerous conflicts of interest to address throughout the whole sport.

Tennis is a selfish sport. Inherently people are too concerned with their own interests. This inevitably causes difficulties in the management of the tour, which have escalated in recent months.

At the end of last year, we saw record results for the ATP and men’s tennis. Now look at us. 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.

These moral issues are by no means unique to tennis. Indeed it feels these days as if every time you open a newspaper, another scandal is unfolding, whether it be in politics, Hollywood or the corporate world. It is more important than ever that anyone with a public platform leads by example and demonstrates real values — honesty, kindness, trust, friendship.

I am by no means perfect, as a man or as an athlete. I have been divorced and have made many a mistake during my 17-year career as a professional.

But I am passionate about tennis, proud to be a part of this great sport and determined to speak up where I see us letting ourselves down. This is a sport with global appeal, to men, women and children of all ages and all cultures. We have a responsibility to be the best we can be.

I hope our sport can put this dreadful period behind us, move forward and embrace the future.

Stan Wawrinka Professional tennis player, Switzerland

Wawrinka is clearly upset that no one on the ATP board or 10-man player council, which Novak Djokovic is part of, came out to denounce the Gimelstob incident back last fall, and none of the top players did either. And now that Gimelstob has resigned, he fears it’s back to business as usual.

Wawrinka never made a statement on Gimelstob back then either, but he and Murray were the only top players to do so in the last week.

That should change in Madrid where this will remain a hot topic in the press room.

Wawrinka once served on the ATP Player Council but no longer does.

The council will vote on Gimelstob’s replace on May 14 in Rome.

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15 Comments for Stan Wawrinka Rips ATP Leadership In Scathing Letter

Dan Says:

So, Stan believes that the ATP Board cravenly violated a moral imperative by not summarily stripping JG of his position, based on a disputed accusation? This may present a problem for Stan if he should ever be falsely accused of anything. Then he might see the wisdom in the presumption of innocence until a finding of guilt. The ATP board acted properly in this case. JG, who knew he was not innocent, should have resigned when accused.

Wog Boy Says:

The more I hear these lapdogs talking (“German” Zverev too) the more I respect Justin.

What is Justin’s crime, punch up with his friend, who hasn’t done it? Only mummy’s boys, pussies.

I wander what is behind this, mind you, both of these lapdogs are stunch supporters of Chris Kermode.

Person who was cheating on his wife with 17 years old girl (dumping his wife for her) talks about moral and takes high moral ground?!

chico Says:

Have to say it felt refreshing to read Stans letter. He seems to be putting himself out there trying to do something he feels is right. How many of us are ready to put ourselves in the same situation, speaking out and thus making oneself a target.

Wogboy, your argument after the PS says that if someone has made a mistake, he/she/they should shut up forever. That is a lot of people thrown to the side in the project of building something better.

Django Says:

Wawrinka is hardly the moral poster boy.
Mirka was right about him a few years ago.

Wog Boy Says:

Chico, absolutely not, but they can’t call upon moral values if their track record is atrocious as is Stan, otherwise their argument doesn’t have any weight, imagine drug cheat taking moral high ground on drug cheats?!
He could’ve worded the letter differently or if Federer or Nadal wrote it I would not have a problem since they are squeaky clean.
Stan try to sneak divorce as just that, divorce, which I also don’t have problem as such, but there is divorce and there is divorce, people separate on lots of grounds, his ones speak for themselves.
Don’t forget that he has done worse before, he left pregnant wife to care for herself and give a birth to their child while officially he wanted to concentrate on tennis, I am a father, I am far away from perfect husband (twice) but I would cherish until the end of my life the moment when I felt for the first time my unborn kids were kicking me from inside their mothers (my wives) stomachs, I cannot accept that kind of person to talk about moral and take high moral grounds, anything else ok, but don’t lecture people about moral, fullstop.
One more thing, what is his point of being farmer son, are they better fathers than plumbers, sparkies or brickies, is that suppose to give more weight to his letter?
He was the farmer son in the heart of the Europe, heart of one of the most developed and civilised countries in the world for the God sake. He was living in the town having more than good upbringing and not on the farm in some sh!thole in Australia where first neighbours are two hours driving distance from you, where flying doctors come once a year to check if occupants are still alive and where kids are finishing the schools coresponding with their teacher via UHF.

Wog Boy Says:

“two hours”, make that five hours, and I mean it.

Carol Clima Says:

Stans’ view may not be everyones but it was refreshing to hear his opinion. He obviously had strong feelings about what happened & l felt he wrote with candour & honesty. Yes he is not perfect but has always played tennis in the best manner.

chico Says:

WB, there is a saying: “The truth is the truth, even if it comes from a childs mouth”.
I have no knowledge of Wawrinkas previous endeavours, probably he has had his low points as do we all, so I hope he has learned from them. Probably, as people tend to do, or then not. The point is not to cling to the past. Learn from it yes, but cling to it, no.

Even if Stan would have a legitimate point, is it so that you would not acknowledge it because of his person?

Van Persie Says:

Hey Chico,

yes, WB has a good point. Since we are talking about moral values, Times should have asked a letter from a person with high moral values. For good sake, he slept with a teenager and left wife. No problem with that but I do not think he was really the one to throw with the stone and embarrass himself that way in the media.

Wog Boy Says:

Put it this way, how many solicitors would ask Stan to give their client character reference for court, even better would you ask him to write character reference about your moral values and personal integrity for your court appearance? I know I wouldn’t.

This was personal and premeditated and Stan was just loudspeaker, together with Zverev statement who even in aggressive manner called out Nole, and someone else is laughing now behind the scenes, it won’t be any let up heading towards FO, they will come down on Nole like there is no tomorrow, particularly British press, it is becoming pattern for GSs, but to be honest Nole is to blame himself, he didn’t need this sh!t.
The truth is, he is the president of players council but he wasn’t the only one pushing for Kermode replacement, Anderson, Isner and few others were pushing as hard as he is, they were lobbying and at the end they got the numbers in March (in January they didn’t have numbers, it was draw 5:5), I don’t see any problem with that, everything was done by the rules and in civilised manner?!

Van Persie Says:


Had only a glance at what happened, so thank you for summarizing it to me. The “anti Kermode” group was not as loud as the other, in the media, I mean.

Wog Boy Says:

One more thing, since Vajda can’t travel anymore as before due to family reasons, Nole officially installed his brother Marko as the second coach and he will be with him all the time in the box, starting with Madrid.
According to Nole, he knows him the best, he learned his trade coaching with Pepe, Marko is his inspiration and he loves him the most!!! Nole has lost it.

As I said before, Vajda had enough of those idiots and Nole’s behaving and is looking for elegant way out.
To watch that idiot Marko in that cult all white robes, no way, at the end the cult won, the people I know are shocked, literally so.

chico Says:

Hmm.. I’d say in reference to solicitors, that those are the people brought in when integrity and backbone has failed somewhere.

An action should not be evluated by a previous, unrelated action. That was my only point. Live, let live and go forward.

When you express your opinion openly and put your own name behind it, that is usually something that takes integrity and backbone.

Van Persie Says:


well, not good news here. No comment…

“When you express your opinion openly and put your own name behind it, that is usually something that takes integrity and backbone.”…not necessarily, you have also a lot of jacka*ses expressing BS and putting their names behind it

chrisford1 Says:

WB – News that makes me sick to my stomach. Let’s see if the rest of Novak’s core team stays with him or bails after Wimbledon.

On a lighter note, there was a bust at a rundown mansion in Malibu as police confiscated over 1,0000 firearms found stored in an underground vault. Guy arrested was Girard Damien Saenz, an associate of real estate mogul Cynthia Beck, who is the longtime mistress of Gordon Getty. The mansion shares a private gated driveway with next door neighbors John MacEnroe and Patty Smythe.

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