Biofile: The Justin Gimelstob Interview
By Scoop Malinowski
Justin Gimelstob has experienced the tennis equivalent of morning sickness — before most matches he plays.
Pre-match anticipation can create feelings of nausea in the 10-year veteran, but the gregarious Gimelstob still has a strong stomach for competition. The 144th-ranked Gimelstob got off to a solid start to the 2005 season by beating Jan-Michael Gambill and Jonas Bjorkman to reach the Chennai quarterfinals last week where he succumbed to Tomas Zib.
Recovering from foot surgery and other injuries slowed Gimelstob last season, limiting his activity on the ATP Tour. But he scored success on the Challenger circuit, winning four Challenger championships: the Forest Hills grass courts and hard-court titles in Beijing, Nashville and Champaign.
A popular presence in tennis, Gimelstob is known for his sense of humor and his commitment to charitable causes. He conducts the annual Justin Gimelstob Children's Fund charity to benefit children with cancer and blood diseases in his native New Jersey. An accomplished doubles player, Gimelstob owns 10 career doubles titles and partnered Venus Williams to win the 1998 Australian Open and Roland Garros mixed doubles championships.
When he's not on the court, Gimelstob can be seen covering the sport. The 27-year-old Gimelstob co-hosts The Tennis Channel's Open Access show with Murphy Jensen this month.
In this interview with Tennis Week.com contributor Scoop Malinowski, Gimelstob reveals how his first tournament expire ended in a default, the funniest players he's met on tour and why one of his U.S. Open matches once sent his friends on a walking tour
Height: 6-foot-5. Weight:190 pounds.
Born On: January 26th, 1977 in Livingston, New Jersey
Childhood Heroes: "I used to love watching McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi."
Hobbies/Interests: "Basketball, golf, movies."
Nicknames: "The Kid, Gimel, Big Show, Gimby — from Nick Bollettieri."
Early Tennis Memory: "Defaulted out of the first tennis tournament I played, I was eight-years-old. Played at Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey. I went to the finals, played my older brother (Josh) and got defaulted by the umpire for behavior problems — threw one down in the third set (smiles)."
Pre-Match Feeling: "Usually, I feel like I'm gonna throw up."
Favorite Movies: "Rocky, Without Limits, Phenomenon, Shawshank Redemption, Godfather II."
Musical Tastes: "I like a little bit of everything, I like U2, REM, Dave Matthews Band."
Favorite TV Shows: "Friends, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sopranos."
Funny Tennis Memory: "One year when I lost at the U.S. Open, my friends were so depressed they walked back to New York City (smiles). I thought that was funny."
First Job: "Never had a job."
First Car: "Toyota Supra, silver, twin turbo."
Greatest Sports Moment: "For me, winning the first set (6-2) against Sampras, Centre Court at Wimbledon (third round in 2000)."
Most Painful Moment: "Breaking my ankle in Tokyo (in 2000), practicing with Karol Kucera. Just a baseline rally, rolled my ankle."
Closest Tennis Friends: "Todd Martin, Jim Courier, Jon Stark."
Funniest Players: "Probably me, I'd say. Best sense of humor — me (smiles). And Petr Korda and Andrei Medvedev were funny."
Toughest Competitors: "Lleyton Hewitt. He gets the most out of his game. He's outgunned physically, but he's still one of the best."
Favorite Vacation Spot: "Never go on a vacation. Home. Just being home."
People Qualities Most Admired: "Honesty. Responsibility. Respect. Hard work. Determination. And I respect people who are good at overcoming adversity."
Scoop Malinowski is a Tennisweek.com contributor. Please check out his site www.thebiofile.com
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