Gimelstob, Justin : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Gimelstob, Justin

Gimelstob, whose father is Jewish and mother is Catholic, is one of America's current crop of rising stars who look to become the next generation of Samprases and Agassis. As of July 8, 2005, he is ranked No. 65 in the world in doubles play and No. 95 in singles. Justin's highest doubles ranking ever was No. 18 in May, 2000; his highest ranking in singles was No. 63 in April 1999.

Known to many as "The Most Quotable Guy on the ATP Tour," he earned this title with many interesting interviews. After reaching the U.S. Open as a wild-card in 1995, he said, "I'm only seven matches away from my first Grand Slam title." When Gimelstob won in the first round of an ATP Tour event in Los Angeles at UCLA, where he attended college, he said, "This is my house!" Then, after losing to Andre Agassi the next day, he noted that "It's still my house, I'm just leasing it to Andre."

During the 2000 U.S. Open, Justin was asked about rising Israeli star, Harel Levy and said, "Harel Levy and Paul (Goldstein) are definitely getting the Jewish community more excited about tennis, the post-(Amos) Mansdorf era...maybe the Israelis won't be all over me for donations now that one of their own (Levy) is doing well."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 26, 1977

Career Highlights:
Justin began to play tennis at the age of eight, and was displaying his quite creditable talent from the time he was 14. In 1991, he was ranked No. 1 in the USTA Boys' 14 age group. Gimelstob achieved the No.1 ranking again in the USTA Boys' 16 age group two years later, and then won the 1995 USTA National Boys' 18 Championships. In January 1995, Gimelstob enrolled at UCLA and completed his first semester with a 4.0 GPA.

In September, 1995, after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in history by defeating No. 65 David Prinosil in the first round of the U.S. Open (it was Justin's first Grand Slam event and he was ranked No. 1,154), Gimelstob was featured in Sports Illustrated. The September 11, 1995 issue asked, "Eighteen-year old UCLA frosh, with 4.0 GPA in first term, aces U.S. Open debut. Could he be tennis' Tiger Woods?"

In 1996, his second (and final) year at UCLA, Justin won the NCAA doubles championship and helped lead the Bruins' to a runner-up finish in the team competition (they lost to Stanford). After turning professional later in the year, Justin began to steadily move up the world rankings. After finishing 1995 ranked No. 573, he was No. 155 at the end of 1996. The following year, Gimelstob reached the third round at the U.S. Open and briefly entered into the world's top 100 before ending the year ranked No. 102.

In 1997, he defeated Andre Agassi at the ATP event in Los Angeles, played on the campus of UCLA. Following the match, Justin said, "I feel great to have a win like this on my home court in front of my family, my friends, and every girl who denied me my first two years of college." The USTA rewarded Justin in 1998 for his improved play; he was named to the Davis Cup team for the first time. Gimelstob competed in the Davis Cup semifinals against Italy and had a record of 0-2 (0-1 in singles and 0-1 in doubles). The U.S. lost in the semis, 4-1.

In 1998, Gimelstob won his second career ATP doubles title (his first was in 1997, and as of February 2001, he had 9 career doubles titles). That year he also won in mixed doubles with partner Venus Williams at both the Australian Open and the French Open. In 1999, Justin reached his highest world singles ranking in April (No.63) and won an additional five doubles titles with four different partners (he has been ranked as high as No. 18 in the world in doubles).

In 2001, Justin had the best Grand Slam performance of his career, reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open with partner Scott Humphries; he lost in the first round of the singles competition. Gimelstob also played for the U.S. in the Davis Cup for the second time in his career, but lost his doubles match as the Americans fell to Switzerland 3-2 in the first round of the competition.

At the 2002 U.S. Open, Gimelstob was eliminated in the first round of the singles competition by No. 6 seed Andre Agassi in straight sets, 0-6, 1-6, 0-6. In the doubles, he and partner Jeff Tarango, reached the second round before losing to No. 14 seed Brian MacPhee (USA) and Nenad Zimonjic (YUG), 7-5, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7). Justin competed in the 2002 Australian Open, but lost in the first round in the singles competition (to 27 seed Nicolas Coutelot of France, 3-6, 3-6). He also competed in the doubles event with partner Jonathan Stark (but lost to Lucas Arnold and Guillermo Canas of Argentina, 2-6, 5-7). At Wimbledon in 2002, Gimselstob teamed with Japanese player Thomas Shimada for the doubles competition, but they lost in the first round.

In 2001, Justin had reached the semifinals in the doubles event at the Australian Open, but in the 2003 Australian Open, Gimelstob lost to No. 18 seed Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco in the first round of the singles competition. Trailing 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 1-0, Justin retired from the match. At the 2003 French Open, he lost in the first round of the men's singles competition to Mariano Puertz in four sets, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), and 6-1.

At Wimbledon in 2003, Justin competed in both the singles and doubles events. In the first round of the men's singles, he defeated Irakli Labadze in straight sets (6-2, 6-2, 6-4). He then upset No. 15 seed Arnaud Clement of France in the second round (2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), and 6-1). In the third round, Gimelstob lost to Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, 1-6, 3-6, and 3-6.

In the men's doubles, Gimelstob and partner David Adams of South Africa won their first round match against Anthony Dupuis and Paul-Henri Mathieu in four sets. In the second round, they played No. 6 seeded Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro of France and extended them to five sets. Unfortunately, Gimelstob and his partner could not pull off the upset and lost the match, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, and 4-6.

At the 2003 U.S. Open, Gimelstob competed in the men's singles event, but lost in the first round to Dominik Hrbaty, 3-6, 4-6, 2-6. In men's doubles, he and partner Nenad Zimonjic lost in the first round to No. 12 seed Tomas Cibulec and Pavel Vizner in three sets. Justin also competed in mixed doubles with Corina Morariu, but they lost in the first round.

In September, 2003, Justin won the International Series Gold tournament in Tokyo with Nicolas Kiefer as his partner. They beat Scott Humphries and Mark Merklein 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, in a closely contested final.

In Wimbledon 2004, Gimelstob teamed up with his old friend, the talented Scott Humphries . The old chemistry was just too strong for Dominik Hrbaty and Graydon Oliver as the Americans beat them 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. The duo faced the dynamic Bryan brothers, ranked second, in the next round. Gimelstob and his partner upset Mike and Bob Bryan 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Unfortunately the on form couple met another top seeded team (fifth) of Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in the quarter finals and lost 3-6, 2-6.

Gimelstob entered the 2004 U.S Open with Graydon Oliver as his new doubles partner. The twosome beat Gregory Carraz and Arnaud Clement of France 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. Justin and his partner beat the favored Argentine team (seeded 15th in the open) of Lucas Arnold and Mariano Hood 7-5, 6-3 in the next round. They were handily eliminated by third seeds Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in the third round 6-2, 6-1.

Gimelstob won two singles titles in 2004. In July he competed at Forest Hills, New York and beat Dusan Vemic 7-6(7) 6-2 in the final. In September Justin competed in a hard-court tournament held in Beijing. The American beat Florent Serra of France (ranked 181 in the world) 6-2 6-2 in the quarterfinals and Alex Bogomolov Jr. (ranked 107) 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Gimelstob was not satisfied with the Forest Hills and Beijing singles titles alone in 2004, and won both doubles titles as well. In Forest Hills he paired up with countryman Brandon Coupe. The twosome beat Travis Rettenmaier and Michael Tebbutt 6-4 6-4 for the title. In China, Justin was paired with American Graydon Oliver as they defeated Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Taylor Dent 4-6 6-4 7-6(6) in the final.

Justin returned to the ATP top 200 with a vengeance in November, 2004 after a mediocre spell. He won the Nashville hard court title, while beating some well considered players. In the first round, he beat Jeff Salzenstein (ranked 166 by the ATP) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. He proceeded to beat compatriot Scott Brown 6-1, 6-4. Gimelstob met Swede Marcus Sarstrand 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) in the quarterfinals. He surprised KJ Hippensteel (ranked 197) with a sterling 7-6(4), 6-1 semifinal victory. Justin captured the title with a hotly contested 7-6(3), 7-6(4) final dogfight with Amer Delic (166 in the world).

Gimelstob had a good run in the hard court tournament in Tallahassee, during April 2005. He beat compatriot Bobby Reynolds (ranked 76 in the world) 6-1, 6-4 in the first round. Justin proceeded to beat Juan Pablo Brzezicki (3-6, 6-2, 6-2), Eric Taino (7-6(5), 6-4) and Frederic Niemeyer (6-3, 6-3) on the way to the final. The player lost to Brian Vahaly (ranked 137) in the final, but shot 15 places in the ATP rankings.

Gimelstob played Chilean Adrian Garcia in the first of Wimbledon 2005. The American looked very comfortable in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory. Justin faced 29th seed Nicolas Massu in the second round and upset the highly rated Chilean 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-0). The American was eliminated in the third round by superstar Leyton Hewitt (seeded 3rd) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5.

Livingston, New Jersey

Physical description:
6'5", 185 pounds
right-handed/one-handed backhand

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