Tennis star’s disgustingly sexist attack on Anna Kournikova.

// 29 June 2008

The Times reports that former mixed doubles Grand Slam title winner Justin Gimelstob verbally laid into Anna Kournikova and made sexist comments about other female tennis players during a US sports radio show, resulting in a one match suspension without pay from the tennis league in which he plays. When questioned about his upcoming march against Kournikova, Gimelstob claimed:

“I’m going to serve it right at the body, about 128 [mph], right into her midriff,” he said. “If she’s not crying by the time she comes off court then I did not do my job.”

Asked if that meant he hated the Russian, with whom he trained as a youth player, he replied: “Hate is a very strong word. I just despise her to the maximum level just below hate.” He added that he would not like to sleep with Kournikova, “because she’s such a douche”. Instead, “I wouldn’t mind my brother, who is kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits.”

He also referred to other female players as “sexpots”. His remarks have been condemned by Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, the Association of Tennis Professionals, of which he is a board member, and the Women’s Tennis Association, who for some reason responded with incredible generosity:

A spokesman for the Women’s Tennis Associationsaid: “We believe that he has learnt from this and will not be repeating his behaviour,” adding that the player had apologised personally to Larry Scott, the tour’s CEO.

Apparently Gimelstob does not “feel that the views I expressed last week accurately represent the person I am or strive to be”. So either an arrogant misogynist who has no idea when to keep his mouth shut took control of his body for the duration of the interview, or he needs to get striving a little harder, because all the rest of us are seeing is an nasty piece of work who deserves far more than a one match suspension. I know which option I’m going with…

Comments From You

tom hulley // Posted 29 June 2008 at 6:21 pm

Years ago in a mixed ‘friendly’ youth football game I sent a young man off for kicking a ball deliberately hard at a young woman. His motivation was annoyance at being outplayed. I told him it was ‘ungentlemanly conduct’ in the laws of the game. He claimed a legitimate kick forward acceptable in an all male game. O.K. I made a special allowance for a female player (debatable?) but in the spirit of the game. Intention matters.

Who is Gimelslob by the way and why was he not arrested for threatening behaviour?

Cruella // Posted 29 June 2008 at 7:38 pm

I was on the Stephen Nolan show on BBC Five Live last night talking about exactly this – amazingly almost everyone they spoke to said “well what do they expect when they dress like that?” (despite the fact that they then had on a British female badminton team player who said she never chose her own clothes and often made a fuss about the outfits given to her, usually to little effect) and “they make money from adverts”, etc. Where is the sanity? They even had the Deputy Editor (I think) of the Daily Star who said his newpaper wasn’t at all sexist and that I must have confused him with the Daily Sport. Maybe we’ve entered a wormhole… how do we get back?

Torygirl // Posted 29 June 2008 at 9:38 pm

Gimelstob sounds like a character from a Nordic fairy tale.

maggie // Posted 29 June 2008 at 11:42 pm

Reading this article and the comment posted by ‘cruella’ has totally depressed me. is it me or are things going backwards? What kind of people are listening to bbc five live? I cannnot believe so many people took that attitude towards this incident. Very scary.

Shea // Posted 30 June 2008 at 8:15 am

Hmm he sounds lovely, and not at all jealous!

Harpymarx // Posted 30 June 2008 at 10:45 am

The latest is that he has donated an “undisclosed sum of money” to the women’s sports federation. How is that a sanction? Personally, I think it should be made public.

And that excuse of an apology…..and the ATP accepted it!! The man knew what he was damn well saying when he shot his misogynist gob off….It was an utterly vicious misogynist rant where he objectifies, belittles and denigrates women tennis players.

Frankly, if the ATP want to be seen as professional, accountable, responsible and transparent then they need to do more than getting this misogynist to apologise and to donate some cash.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 30 June 2008 at 12:07 pm

If you ever need reassurance that misogyny and patriarchy are alive and well, you only need look at women in sport…

Anne Onne // Posted 30 June 2008 at 6:51 pm

How much of a privileged, self-centered git do you need to be to out of the blue make idiotic remarks like this? I don’t get it. I can understand having a debate and getting caught in a corner arguments-wise, where you HAVE to say something, but you dig yourself into a hole, but stuff like this… it’s so easy to not sound like misogynist (even if you are!) and just keep on topic, but some people seem to find it very difficult. So no sympathy for him, and I don’t think he’s learned his lesson. I mean, if he felt free to attack this woman publicly for no apparent reason (other than the fact she seems to be more famous than him, perhaps?), fantasising about injuring her and worse, because she is a woman, knowing he’d get off lightly, he’s not going to suddenly think better of it.

Tom: I don’t know that much about football, but I’d assume kicking deliberately hard with the aim of injuring another player, or taking frustration out on them is considered wrong by refs, at least in all the games I’ve watched, even in all-male matches. Yes, you noticed (I’m agreeing with you, by the way, trying to argue against your player’s point of view) and acted differently in this mixed game, because the reaction was specifically a gendered phenomenon, which would not have happened if it was another male player. If it did, and the other player tried to injure him out of annoyance, I’d assume that would be worthy of at least a warning…

Cruella: Exactly! Besides, what is unusual about fitted or short clothing when we’re talking about sports players? Nobody would suggest a male boxer asked for it if he was raped because he spends most of his professional time in nothing more than a pair of shorts! What next? Gymnasts are asking for it! Swimmers are really easy!

Torygirl // Posted 30 June 2008 at 8:35 pm

Anne, no no… swimmers aren’t easy! They’ve started wearing those all-over Trinny and Susannah hold it all in things that look reeeeeeaaaaaally uncomfortable.

Apparently it makes them go faster…

Charlotte // Posted 25 September 2008 at 12:16 pm

Oh god, I’m a liiitle late to this topic but I only just read about it last week and this man is the douche, clearly. And patriarchy and misogyny alive and well in sport…you got it. Take a look in your sports section of the paper, where’s the Women? Oh yeah, right at the back (if that) next to the feminine horsies (equestrian, anyone?) wearing tight-fitting, short dresses that could only belong to the Only Appropriate Sport For Women: Netball. Pffftt…it sickens me that here (in NZ) a pro Women’s rugby team couldn’t play a proper game on a PROPER field because the men needed to TRAIN on it, yes, train. ‘Go home and look after the kids, women, where you belong!’

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