Re: Who is this kid Tabara...
THE US OPEN 2001
NEW YORK CITY
August 29, 2001
J. GIMELSTOB/M. Tabara
6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2
An interview with:
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about how Tabara had a nice comment in his press conference after the match and said as far as he was concerned, you can go to Hollywood and make a movie. Any response to that?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I mean, he must think I'm better looking than I think I am. I mean, based purely on acting ability?
Q. He said something about the injury time-out.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Let me show you so there's no dispute about what's going on here. This is what happened to my two toes during the match (pulling his shoes off). That's the color they're not supposed to be. I can't tell you how my inner hamstring feels. Those were as legitimate injury time-outs as you can have. If you want to ask Doug Spreen, go ahead and ask him. I mean, if I wasn't feeling those things, I was rolling him in the first two sets, so I don't know really what he felt. Did he think maybe there was a reason I couldn't run as well?
Q. He thought you were not in condition and you were looking for extra time.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: The best I've ever felt in a five-set match. I didn't have one twinge or one cramp for the first time in a five-set match. If he wants to go run a couple miles, I'll bet my ass that I beat him in it.
Q. What do you call the toe problem? Bruised toes?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Just have a jammed toe. The blood swells in there. It was tough for me to move. If you want to ask Doug Spreen if it's legitimate or not, I have no problem defending it. It's ridiculous. If that wasn't a problem, I probably would have been able to beat him in three straight.
Q. Did he kind of spit in your direction?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: He did?
Q. As he approached you at the net.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Really?
Q. He spit right towards you.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Really?
Q. You were unaware?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: They replayed it?
Q. They couldn't tell who he was spitting at. We asked him. He said he was spitting at you.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: He said he was spitting at me?
Q. Chances are you didn't see it.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: The chance is a hundred percent I didn't see it or I would have been on the other side of the net.
Q. He's upset that you're at the net, turn towards the crowd, pumping your fists.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: So he spit at me? He better not be in the locker room when I get back. I guarantee you he's not going to be in the locker room when I get back.
Q. What if he is?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Miki, did you see that he spit at me after the match?
MIKI SINGH: No.
Q. What if he is?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Pretty unprofessional. Unless he grows about another foot by the time I get back in the locker room, he's in trouble.
Q. He said it didn't hit you.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I'm sure he was upset, but how did I feel? I was winning the first two sets and I pulled my hamstring groin. Then I have two toes that are, you know, black. I'm not really too concerned about him at that point. I mean, we played for three hours and 30 minutes. I felt like I handled myself pretty well. I got a little excited there at the end. I feel like I deserved to do that after being through everything I've been through in the last year.
Q. You're not surprised that he griped about it?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I'm just surprised. If he says he spit at me, can't get any less professional than that. I guarantee you the next time I see him, I'll take it up with him. If he's in the locker room now, you guys want some real fireworks, stick around for about an hour. That's ridiculous. I would doubt -- I think there's a certain code on the tour between players. I did what I had to do. I was taking injury time-outs because I was injured. I wasn't trying to stretch the rules. If I was trying to stretch the rules, there's an ITF referee there, a referee in the chair, and the trainer, that are going to say what it is. It's as legitimate as it was. If he was upset that I was excited, you know, maybe the Czechs need to have a little bit more personality out there, huh? I was excited. I had been through a lot. I was excited I played a good fifth set, that I overcame the injuries and toughed it out. If he has a problem with that, he thinks spitting at me is appropriate, you know, I think we just grew up in a little different culture.
Q. Has any opponent, juniors, done that?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I've been through a lot of things. I've never had anyone spit at me, nor have I ever spit at anyone. I mean, that's pretty immature.
Q. Could you elaborate on all that you just said, for everything you've been through?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Anyone that's followed me at all, I mean, I haven't really been a hundred percent healthy in a year. I mean, I started playing well last summer. About three weeks before the US Open I injure my back again. I did my best trying to get myself in shape to play in The Open. I started playing a little bit better. I go to Tokyo, tear a ligament in my ankle, boom, out for the year, three and a half months. Get off the plane from Tokyo, in the gym, I'm in the gym 2:30 in the morning, starting my rehab. Six months, three days a week, three to four hours a day. I was trying to rehab my back, even though my back was okay at that point, trying to do everything I can do. I'm rehabbing three to four hours a day for three months. Starting the year in January, my ankle feels a little tender, starts off a little tough. I start losing confidence, I start losing matches, becomes a tough year for me, we lose the Davis Cup. By about March, April, you know, my ankle starts feeling a little bit better, then my back starts acting up again. I start playing a little bit better, get to the finals of a challenger, win my first round in Queen's, get ready to play Wimbledon quallies, boom, back done, out another month.
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I have two herniated discs. You know, rehab for another month. Trying to play Newport, trying to play LA, I wasn't even close to being fit to play. Taking tremendous amounts of painkillers. Nothing against Vicodin, it's great, I love it, I would love to get a Vicodin sponsorship, but you can only play on it for so long. Started Yoga about five weeks ago. I haven't taken a pill since. I haven't had back pain since. It's been unbelievable. All the guys are giving me crap because I have a cute Yoga teacher, who is a girl. Even though it's the first platonic relationship I've ever been in in my life, the guys still give me crap about it. But it's been great. Jennifer has been a real help to me. We're starting to work with Scott McCain again, the USTA coach. Going through all the negativity, lose matches, injuries, rehab, do you know how hard it is to stay positive, how difficult it is to stick with it when other guys are winning matches, you're home rehabbing, losing matches, your body hurts, you're trying to train? Up till last week in Washington, I was so upset with my play, I didn't want to come here and play. Scott McCain did an unbelievable job staying positive, motivating me. I couldn't see how he could stay positive about anything. I couldn't get the balls out of the can. Thanks to Jennifer and Scott, I'm letting myself have some good memories here. Without them, I wouldn't have the opportunity to have the opportunity to have some Czech guy spit at me.
Q. What went through your head? What was your self-talk during this time?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: You battle. You battle with trying to think -- trying to figure out, "Can I do this?" You lose self-confidence. "Is it worth it? Should I be doing something else?" I consider myself a relatively intelligent guy. "Is there something else I should be doing? Is my body not up to this". Then you stay away from it and you realize that you devoted a significant part of your life to something, you know, you have to give yourself a shot and see it all the way through. That's usually what keeps me going.
Q. Do you have a coach?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Scott McCain.
Q. How long?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It's been since, you know, through the summer.
Q. Does Jennifer travel with you?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Jennifer has been traveling with me for about five, six weeks, yeah.
Q. New hairstyle?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: No. James Blake and I had a little thing going to see who could not get their hair cut for the longest. I've always been the preppy, short hair thing. Just letting it go a little bit.
Q. How did you stumble upon Yoga?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Alex O'Brien, my doubles partner, was really into it. I was going to have back surgery. After LA, my back was so bad, I lost to Malisse. I shouldn't have even played. I was playing through so much pain. I was like talking to my doctors, they wanted me to have back surgery, end the year. I was going to do it. I remember meeting with my dad in the hotel room, we were both sad. I started crying. I just couldn't believe that another year was going to be cut short. But we decided if I could put this behind me and start 2002, maybe that's what I had to do. Then he said, "Before you do that, start doing this Yoga."
Q. Alex said that?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Alex did. I started doing it. I haven't taken a pill since and I haven't had a twinge in my back since.
Q. How many hours a day?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: We do it every day, at least an hour and a half a day, sometimes more.
Q. Is it Hatha Yoga?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Hatha Yoga.
Q. Do you do it if she's not around?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It's tough because I'm -- like I said, a couple weeks ago is the first time I touched my toes since puberty. It's a little bit tough. I don't really have the stuff down yet to be able to do it myself. I can do a lot of the stretching. Even if she's not around, like OB and I went to a couple of Yoga classes before she got here. If she's not around, I'll be looking into where I can do Yoga at the tournaments.
Q. What is Jennifer's last name?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Greenhut.
Q. Beyond the frustration part of it, any serious thoughts in your mind to quitting?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah, I mean, maybe a passing thought about quitting, but nothing significant, nothing significant to that effect. I mean, I wanted to give it a shot. I know I haven't reached my potential. I know I could do better. The frustration was just probably the strongest symptom. I wasn't ready to quit ever.
Q. With all these new young Americans coming up, is it frustrating to feel you're being passed by?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: A little bit. I don't begrudge any of the guys. I love it. It's given me a boost. I'm kind of a tweener. That's weird for me. I used to always be the youngest guy, up-and-comer. Now there's an older generation established with Todd Martin, Andre, Pete, Michael, those guys. Then there's the young guys, Andy and all them. I'm in the middle. My generation, all of a sudden, I wake up, we're the middle. I mean, still, just like I'm 24 and a half years old. Just because I've been around for a long time, my body is 44 and a half, doesn't mean -- I mean, I'm still young, I have a long way to go, I have a lot of things I can do. It gives me a nice shot in the arm. Good personalities, James Blake, Mardy, Jeff Morrison, Andy. They're fun, nice guys. It's fun to have someone else nipping at your heels to push you.
Q. Today you lose the third and fourth sets. What's going through your mind?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: You know my fifth set record at the US Open. I was losing the first game in the fifth. Sure, it didn't feel good. Physically, I felt good. I was just trying to hang in there, play each point. By the time you're in the fifth set, you see the finish line, you just have to somehow get your head over it.
Q. How was your serve overall today?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: All right. I mean, let's look at the stats. I got broken a bunch. He returns pretty well. I mean, it's all right. It could get better. Not great, but it could definitely get better.
Q. Do you remember when you took your injury time-outs? Was it 4-5 in the fourth?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: They asked me to take another injury time-out. I don't know if you saw me roll my ankle. I mean, did you guys see it? How legitimate is that? They asked me to take another injury time-out. I refused to take it because I felt a little bad that I took two on the previous changeovers.
Q. You took two in the fourth?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I think I took two. I don't recall. I took one for my hamstring and one for my toes. Then, of course, right out of the chute, I roll my ankle, the other ankle that I tore my ligaments on. I'm thinking, "You can't be serious?" I really was thinking, "You can't be serious? I'm not going to roll my other ankle, am I?"
Q. Who is "they"?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Doug and the trainer said, "You could get another injury time-out, if you want it." I didn't want it. I felt bad. Proves the little man's theory again.
Q. I assume you would have liked a wildcard here, but in a way is it more satisfying and have you benefited from having to come through the qualifying?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I've definitely benefited. I was definitely upset about it. It turned out to be the best thing for me. Like I said, it was a little bit disappointing to not get it over a couple of the guys that did get it. James Blake, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri, a hundred percent deserved it, really earned it based on their results. I'm forgetting all seven that got it. I just felt like they totally overlooked Gimelstob, Mamiit, Goldstein. I never got a US Open wildcard. Nobody owes me anything. They don't owe me anything even though I've been in the program since I was 12 years old. I felt like I was a pretty good candidate. It's been a rough year for me. I've had some good results here. I'm from here. Never getting a wildcard, I thought I had a decent shot. I didn't get it. It turned out to be the best thing for me. I needed the matches. Now I'm starting to put some matches together. It's good.
Q. Do you remember matches on Grandstand when you were a kid?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Sure. Someone said to me after the match, "Now I know how you felt watching Gilbert-Becker." Obviously it wasn't quite that dramatic. I used to come here forever. To be a part of playing these five-set matches here, I do have a good fifth-set record here, it's neat. Every time I play out there is neat. I've played on that court a lot. Playing at the US Open is cool.
Q. The question remains, once he calmed down a bit, he admitted if you went on to make a movie, he would go and see it. What kind of movie would you like to be in? Action? High drama? Western?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Actually, I got a really weird call. You'll love this. I got a really weird call yesterday. I'm pretty friendly with Dustin Hoffman, huge tennis fan. I guess he's going to do a movie on tennis. I got a call from someone that works with him, that he wants me to work with the screenwriter on the movie. Maybe Tabara is right. I don't think I'll have much of a career in Hollywood. In that regard, it's pretty ironic.
Q. If they write a role of a sore loser?
JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I'll cast him as the sore loser. I heard that the story is about him going to a sports psychologist, mentoring like a young, up-and-coming, promising player. "Is it about me four years ago? I think I can help you out with that one. You don't need the screenwriter. I think I got it." So that's that. That's the deal. I'm just happy I got through the match.
I miss: Ivan Lendl, Korda, Novak, Bruguera, Rios, Kucera, Courier, Mantilla, Costa, Santoro and Ferreira.
Good luck to:
Gaudio, Murray, Florian Mayer, Chela, Nalbandian, Radek Stepanek, Volandri, Youzhny and Verdasco.
NICOLAS ALMAGRO IS AN EXOTIC BEAUTY